Flashpoints: Free Speech in American History, Culture & Society

At this panel, we ask just how “free” is free speech? How do we protect space for dissent? From “gag rules” prohibiting abolitionist views on the congressional floor to anarchists and communists being deported or imprisoned for sedition; and from obscenity laws to women’s right to birth control, Americans have often pushed the boundaries of politically acceptable speech, and faced robust resistance. Presented by PEN America.

This event looks at historical moments where strident expressions of political thought, widely perceived to be anti-democratic in their own place and time, provoked new strictures.

Moderator: Brett Gadsden

Panelists: Barbara Krauthamer, Claire Potter, and Geoffrey R. Stone

The event is finished.


May 18 2022


Central Time
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

More Info



American Writers Museum
Chicago, Illinois

6 thoughts on “Flashpoints: Free Speech in American History, Culture & Society

  1. Janie Loveless says:

    Having trouble registering. Entered password and it just keeps circling without letting me activate any options ( like change password, etc.)
    Love your programs…don’t want to miss future ones.
    Glad to see the YouTube address. But want my continuing registrations to work!

    • American Writers Museum says:

      Hi Janie. Sorry to hear that you are having trouble registering for tomorrow’s in-person event at the American Writers Museum. Registration for this event is being handled PEN America, as they are the organizers. I have passed your name along to them so you are on the registration list. So you are good to go. We’ll see you tomorrow!

    • American Writers Museum says:

      Hi Mary,
      There seem to have been a series of technical errors with this program that we are already working to correct. That began with registration, but unfortunately also extended to the recording of the event. Due to those technical difficulties, we are unable to post the recording we have. I’m so sorry for this, but hopefully we can do another event with PEN America soon!
      -Ari Bachechi, Assistant Director, Operations & Exhibits

    • American Writers Museum says:

      Hi Sydney,
      While the event was recorded, there were technical difficulties last night. Unfortunately, the recording we have cannot be posted for this reason. Hopefully we will be able to do another event with PEN America soon. So sorry!
      -Ari Bachechi, Assistant Director, Operations & Exhibits

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