Areopagitica was published in 1644. It is frequently cited as the first passionate defense of free speech since it challenges the idea of censoring books before they are published.
Milton praises the vitality of books and decries their annihilation, noting that it is just as bad to destroy a good book as it is to almost kill a man.
As Milton sees it, rather than removing temptation through censorship, we should be permitted to read competing views in print and use reason to select between them.
He alludes to the biblical account of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace when they eat the fruit of knowledge.
While some may hold God responsible for Adam’s “transgression,” Milton gives God the credit for granting mankind the ability to make their own decisions;...