A History of Banned Books

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Books have been banned/censored throughout history. For example, the Catholic Church created the Index of Banned Books in the 1500s. The goal of the Index was to prevent the general population from reading books that went contrary to the Church’s teachings. Some of Galileo’s books were in this list. Anyone caught reading or selling these books was severely punished, tortured, or even killed. 500 years later, however, book banning still occurs. There are hundreds of books being challenged every year in the United States, for various reasons. Many of these reasons are understandable, such as preventing mature content (eg. profanity, violence, obscenity) from reaching young people. However, other reasons are quite irrational. For example, the Harry Potter series was removed from some school libraries because parents believed it promoted witchcraft. A single, precise reason behind book banning, however, is unclear. Furthermore, many important American classics are being banned, often for minor reasons such as profanity. Why is it that we ban books that teach valuable lessons? Is it because censors are simply trying to protect children from inappropriate content? Or are governments trying to suppress unwanted ideas? Books should not be banned because book censorship is unnecessary, limits knowledge, and violates the fundamental principles of this country.
Although some may say that certain books contain graphic/violent content, banning such books is not an effective method to prevent young children from being exposed to such content, and therefore is unnecessary. One person that harbors such beliefs is Christina Healey. In her article “Book Banning can be Justified in Some Cases,” she argues that in some cases, book banning is...

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... press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” When it comes to the issue of book banning, the First Amendment states that the government cannot make any laws that interfere with the freedom of the press. The Supreme Court has commonly upheld this right. The denial of this right, according to Micah Issitt and Ames Cushman’s article, is a sign of a totalitarian government. Therefore, any form of book banning is a flagrant violation of the freedom of the press, one of America’s most cherished rights. Controlling what society can and cannot read goes against the founding principles of this nation.
In conclusion, book banning should not occur because it is unnecessary, violates freedoms, and prevents important lessons from being taught. To preserve freedom and literacy, book banning should be banned.
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