The primary purpose of this article is to review the concept of freedom of speech in North Carolina prior to Gitlow v. New York. Gitlow, of course, held the first amendment right of freedom of speech in the United States Constitution was applicable to the states through the vehicle of the fourteenth amendment. Prior to 1 July 1971, neither the fundamental laws of North Carolina nor any provision in its constitution guaranteed freedom of speech. Therefore, to some extent the question is whether freedom of speech was recognized by the courts of North Carolina prior to Gitlow and, if so, how it was manifested and protected.



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