Gitlow v. New York (1925) Definition

A U.S. Supreme Court case which ruled that the First Amendment's protection of "the freedom of speech, or of the press" applied to the states. Gitlow was convicted under a New York state law for advocating the forceful overthrow of the government. The Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and found the New York law constitutional, reasoning that speech advocating the criminal overthrow of the government isn't protected by the First Amendment.

Today, the Court no longer uses the speech protection standard it used in Gitlow. For several decades, the Court has been much more protective of speech than it was when Gitlow was decided. Gitlow is still significant though, because it was one of the earliest Supreme Court decisions to rule that specific protections found in the Bill of Rights are incorporated against the states under the 14th Amendment due process clause.

Full text: Gitlow v. New York