Book Banning Essay

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When I first heard the term “book banning”, I questioned what the term means, and whether or not it exists. Many people have had this same reaction to the introduction of the term book banning. After researching book banning, I have come to an interesting conclusion about book banning. The result of this research shows that book banning still, and always has existed in the United States. Book banning has a long and detailed history in the United States. According to Donald Downs and Martin Sweet, two writers for, “Book banning has existed in America since colonial times, when legislatures and royal governors enacted laws against blasphemy and seditious libel”. A major cause of Book banning in the 1800’s was a man by the name of Anthony Comstock. “In 1873, using slogans such as ‘Morals, not art and literature,’ he convinced Congress to pass a law, thereafter known as the ‘Comstock Law,’ banning the mailing of materials found to be ‘lewd, indecent, filthy or obscene’” (Mullally). Comstock is the sole cause of the confiscation of over 100 tons of mail, and the prosecution of thousands of people. There have been many court cases that deal with book banning in the United States. The first major case is United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, which resulted in an outcome that went against the Comstock Laws, and opened the door for more court cases against censorship. The most significant case to date is the U.S. Supreme Court case Island Trees School District v. Pico. The outcome of this case states that “the First Amendment imposes limitations upon a local school board's exercise of its discretion to remove books from high school and junior high school libraries” (Island Trees School District v. Pico). These court cases have greatly decreased the amount of power people have to prevent book banning, but there was a time where opposition to book banning

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