The Constitution, the Law, and Freedom of Expression, 1787-1987

The Constitution, the Law, and Freedom of Expression, 1787-1987

The Constitution, the Law, and Freedom of Expression, 1787-1987

The Constitution, the Law, and Freedom of Expression, 1787-1987


This work consists of papers delivered at Macalester College in recognition of the Bicentennial of the Constitution of the United States. The authors include former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia, ACLU president Norman Dorsen and others.


The 1986 Wallace Conference on "The Constitution, Freedom of Expression, and the Liberal Arts" exemplifies Macalester College's commitment to free, uninhibited inquiry and expression, within a legal tradition that protects the rights of the individual and provides for the welfare of the greater society. The flourishing of education in this country, from the natural and social sciences to the humanities and fine arts, is due in large part to the support provided by the Constitution and the way of life it makes possible.

It could not have been more appropriate for the first Wallace Conference to be held during the time the nation was beginning its celebration of the bicentennial of the Constitution, the basic document of governance that has provided freedom and democracy to our nation for almost two centuries. No other form of government has been as successful as ours in protecting basic freedoms and no other receives as much critical attention.

The freedom to praise or criticize all aspects of our lives, including the very document that supports those freedoms, is precious. Those who participated in this conference are excellent examples of the theme and the tradition.

Macalester College, in the tradition of liberal arts colleges, seeks to educate persons who will become good citizens and leaders in American society. We believe that the best way to accomplish this is to bring together a talented group of students to be educated by a faculty of dedicated teacher-scholars with a broadly based program deeply rooted in the arts, humanities, and sciences. In addition, we are convinced that both students and faculty need constant challenges from those seminal minds who are shaping the various disciplines—and our society as a whole. The Wallace Visitors Program, with its emphasis on bringing outstanding scholars to the Macalester campus and giving our students and faculty the opportunity to interact with them, is an example of what we do best.

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