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The Press

May 2024
1min read

Peter Andrews states that Alexander Hamilton “inveighed against the liberality” of the First Amendment. I understand that to mean that Hamilton asserted that the then-proposed amendment would give the press too much freedom. However, Hamilton opposed the amendment because it could weaken the press. In Federalist No. 84, the very issue that Andrews quotes from, Hamilton said that the new federal government would lack the power to control the press, but adopting the First Amendment would imply that it held that power. Hamilton argued that adopting the First Amendment was “dangerous,” because the amendment could subject the press to control rather than keep it free. He also said that the concept of “liberty of the press” is so vague that it would carry little real meaning and that the real protection for the press lies in public opinion and the “general spirit of the people and of the government.”

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