Includes bibliographical references (pages 265-276) and index.
1. Introduction -- 2. English origins - liberty of conscience -- 3. English origins - news -- 4. The marketplace of ideas and its polemicists -- 5. American origins - the seventeenth century -- 6. Turning points for expression -- 7. Debate and the public sphere -- 8. Conclusion.
"With the introduction of the printing press in England in 1476, a struggle over its control - and its potential for interrupting power - was joined. The written word, once the domain of the upper levels of society that controlled politics, economics, and religion, could be seen passing into the hands of anyone throughout the social strata who wished to voice opinions on any topic of interest or importance. How the advent of printing led to the idea of a free press is the story told by David A. Copeland in this book, which traces a confrontation that began with issues of religion and gradually expanded into the realm of political freedom."--BOOK JACKET.