An Examination of Censorship

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Censorship is the verb conversion of the word censor – “an official [being or “department”] who examines books, plays, news reports, radio and television programs, motion pictures, letters, etc, for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military or other, grounds” (“Censoring | Define Censoring at”). In certain cases, censorship is beneficial to the general public, but often times can cross into the realm of marring human rights.

Censorship is an age old concept derived from the mighty Roman Empire. Two people were elected to oversee the well-being of the people and guide them in ethics and morals (“Roman Censor”). The duties of the “censors,” the people described, could be divided into three sections. The first was the “census,” or the list of citizens and their rights to property, also splitting the lists into the two social classes (plebeians and patricians) based on property and monetary value. As stated, the largest responsibility of the censors was known as the Regimen Morum, or keeping of the public morals. Furthermore, they were the forefront of the agency controlling the finances of the state, which oversaw the erection of public buildings, works and schooling (Smith Location?).

Fast forward through time to the world of today; different titles appear: president, prime minister, policeman, congressman, senator. However, Rome’s impact on history is more than just a blemish – its part of the modern lifestyle. In the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau does most of the duties the censors of Rome were required. They collect the housing and population census, economic census, government census, various surveys and regulate how the economy is doing. Due to the populatio...

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