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books public conduct

Censorship, supervision or control exercised by authority over public communication, conduct, or morals. Early censorship in the Greek city-states curbed conduct considered insulting to the gods or dangerous to public order. In Rome the censor dictated public morality. Censorship of books was not widespread (although some books were publicly burned) until the invention of printing in the 15th century. The first Index of Prohibited Books was drawn up by the Roman Catholic Church in 1559 in an effort to stop the spread of subversive literature. Similar tactics were employed by Protestants and secular authorities. In the United States, freedom of the press is protected from federal interference by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

See also: Bill of rights.

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