Where did our free speech rights come from?

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says precious little about freedom of speech. And yet Americans now enjoy strong protections, developed over decades of legal decisions. How did we get here?

Unprecedented tells the raw and emotional stories of ordinary people who helped define the limits of our First Amendment right to free speech. In each episode, you’ll meet the accidental guardians of perhaps our most cherished liberty. They are war protesters and religious zealots, Ku Klux Klan members and internet trolls. They are Americans who, regardless of their social or political views — or even an awareness of the stakes — have helped us fill in the Constitutional gaps that our Founding Fathers left open to interpretation.

Hosted by Booksmart Studios executive producers Matthew Schwartz and Michael Vuolo, with special appearances by NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Unprecedented will show us how we got here so we can better understand where we’re going. You’ll never think of the Constitution the same way again.

If you like the show, please consider becoming a paying subscriber. You’ll get occasional text columns and and ability to engage directly with the hosts. Plus you’ll be supporting everything we do here at Booksmart Studios.

Note: Unprecedented originally aired on WAMU in 2019.

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We at Unprecedented are proud to be part of the Booksmart Studios family of shows. While you’re here, feel free to check out the other Booksmart productions!

Questions? Comments? E-mail booksmartstudios@gmail.com and one of our producers will get back to you as soon as possible.