“Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.”
—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo in Palko v. Connecticut


The ACLU was founded in 1920 when the attorney general of the United States carried out his “Palmer raids” to round up immigrants based on their “subversive” views. And we stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the emerging labor movement of the early 20th century. The First Amendment —freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion — has always been foundational for our organization. 

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Learn more about the ACLU's long history of defending free speech here

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