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Teacher Guide: Why is James Madison’s Defense of Freedom of the Press Critical Today?

James Madison
James Madison, Hamilton’s major collaborator, later President of the United States and “Father of the Constitution” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, believed that the press plays a critical role in a republican form of government in which sovereignty—the ultimate power—resides with the people. This view, which supports expansive press freedom to cover government and critique public officials and their work, was a major departure from the British common law meaning of the freedom of the press.

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