The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without government interference or regulation. The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech where it attempts to regulate the content of the speech. Generally, a person cannot be held liable, either criminally or civilly for anything written or spoken about a person or topic, so long as it is truthful or based on an honest opinion, and such statements.

A less stringent test is applied for content-neutral legislation. The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. For more on unprotected and less protected categories of speech see advocacy of illegal action, fighting words, commercial speech and obscenity. The right to free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicate a message. The level of protection speech receives also depends on the forum in which it takes place.

James Madison, notably, who proposed the Freedom of Speech Clause to the First Congress, did not agree with this idea of Freedom of Expression. The First Amendment is not about self-expression, the search for truth as an end in itself, or even the opportunity for political participation as a means of self-fulfillment - it is about checking abuses of power. So Madison saw the Amendment primarily as being about the freedom of political speech.

So there you go. It is in place for political speech. That is how the man who wrote it, meant it.