10 Sw. U. L. Rev. 237 (1978)
Toward a Metatheory of Free Speech

handle is hein.journals/swulr10 and id is 255 raw text is: TOWARD A METATHEORY OF FREE
Laurence H. Tribe**
One of my favorite cartoons shows a tall ship, apparently the
Mayflower, with two Pilgrims leaning pensively over the side. They
scan the distant horizon, and one says to the other: Religious freedom
is my immediate goal, .     but my long range plan is to go into real
I'm fond of the Pilgrim's wisecrack because it so nicely portrays
the basic duality of constitutional law and history. After all, our devel-
opment under the Constitution has been informed by two dramatically
different sets of concerns: the first, involving intensely human and hu-
mane aspirations of personality, conscience, and freedom; the second,
involving vastly more mundane and seemingly mechanical matters like
geography, territorial boundaries, and institutional arrangements.
Most theories of constitutional law slight the complex relation be-
tween these two strands in our constitutional development. Conven-
tional accounts generally do not adequately trace the complicated
course these strands have followed-intertwining, diverging from, and
merging with each other in different periods. In my recently pub-
lished treatise, American Constitutional Law,' I sought to illuminate
this course by describing the permutations it has undergone, and by
identifying the seven basic models which I believe have represented the
major alternatives for constitutional argument and decision in Ameri-
can law from the early 1800's to the present. These models are: (1)
* This article will appear in a forthcoming book tentatively entitled Constitutional Govern-
ment in America: Essays and Proceedings from Southwestern University Law Review's First West
Coast Conference on Constitutional Law (R. Collins, ed. 1978).
** Professor of Law, Harvard University. David H. Remes, a second year Harvard law stu-
dent, assisted in the preparation of this article.
1. TRIBE, AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (Foundation Press, Mineola, N.Y. 1978) [here-
inafter cited as TREATISE].

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