Free Speech

Alexander Hamilton, Free Press Law Pioneer: Episode 10 of My "Free Speech Rules" YouTube Video Series


Thanks to a generous grant from the Stanton Foundation, and to the video production work of Meredith Bragg and Austin Bragg at, I'm putting together a series of 10 short, graphical YouTube videos explaining free speech law. Our videos so far have been

  1. "7 Things You Should Know About Free Speech in Schools,"
  2. "The Three Rules of Hate Speech and the First Amendment,"
  3. "Fake News and the First Amendment,"
  4. "Who Owns Your Life Story?,"
  5. "Is Money Speech?,"
  6. "Corporations and the First Amendment,"
  7. "The Ten Rules of Free Speech and College Students,"
  8. "Free Speech and Government Property," and
  9. "Free Speech and Privacy."

Our tenth, which we released a few weeks ago (and which I unaccountably neglected to post here at the time), is "Alexander Hamilton's Influence on Free Press Law":

As usual for our episodes, the full script is also posted right below the video on YouTube.

We'd love it if you

  1. Watched this.
  2. Shared this widely.
  3. Suggested people or organizations whom we might be willing to help spread it far and wide (obviously, the more detail on the potential contacts, the better).
  4. Gave us feedback on the style of the presentation, since we're always willing to change the style as we learn more.

Please post your suggestions in the comments, or e-mail me at volokh at

NEXT: The CFPB Needed Better Friends

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  1. The Stanton Foundation has an odd combination of interests: canine welfare and nuclear security.

    I mean I’m all for doggies and not getting blowed up but it just seems odd to combine them.

    1. I think it’s that Frank Stanton was for dogs, free speech, and nuclear security. Not that odd for a person to have such a mix of interests (most of us do, whatever the particular ones might be); and the foundation was set up with his money to pursue his interests.

  2. It might be “nice” to point out that Hamilton supported the Alien and Sedition Acts passed under John Adams, the Sedition Act conveniently set to expire with the end of Adams’ first term, in case the Republicans won in 1800, which of course they did. Under the Sedition Act, editors criticizing the president weren’t so lucky.

  3. well, it was interesting but too short. At one point, its mentioned that Hamilton’s proposed standard is different than modern constitutional law. The 2-2 court decision is mentioned, along with the state constitutional amendments it inspired (the 1st amendment was not incorporated against the states at that point), but I would have liked to know more about the progeny in case law of Hamilton’s standard in federal courts. Did the Supreme Court eventually adopt the standard? Overrule it? settle the 2-2 tie? ignore it? or what?

  4. The hokey attempt at humor at the end of the ‘Money’ is, how shall we say, lacking.

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