Prologue: On Dissent -- Its Meaning in America

Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-76719-4

Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 13-15

8 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2013 Last revised: 15 Oct 2013

See all articles by Ronald K. L. Collins

Ronald K. L. Collins

University of Washington - School of Law

David Skover

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

America values dissent. It tolerates, encourages, and protects it. But what is this thing we value? That is a question never asked.

"Dissent" is treated as a known fact. For all that has been said about dissent – in books, articles, judicial opinions, and popular culture – it is remarkable that no one has devoted much, if any, ink to explaining what dissent is. No one has attempted to sketch its philosophical, linguistic, legal, or cultural meanings or usages.

There is a need to develop some clarity about this phenomenon we call dissent, for not every difference of opinion, symbolic gesture, public activity in opposition to government policy, incitement to direct action, revolutionary effort, or political assassination needs to be tagged dissent. In essence, we have no conceptual yardstick.

It is just that measure of meaning that On Dissent offers.

Keywords: Dissent, First Amendment, Civil Disobedience, Protest, Revolution, Riot, Terrorism, Violence

Suggested Citation

Collins, Ronald K. L. and Skover, David, Prologue: On Dissent -- Its Meaning in America (2013). Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-76719-4, Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 13-15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2338141

Ronald K. L. Collins (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States

David Skover

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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