Americana: Live Free or Don't

License-plate slogans tend to be innocuous boasts of a state's famous product: corn, copper, sunshine, lakes, Lincoln, enchantment. From 1969 on, New Hampshire car owners had a more forceful phrase, LIVE FREE OR DIE, and it drove some of them to distraction. Motorist George Maynard, feeling the slogan confined him to the right lane, went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1977 with his refusal to pay a $75 fine for blotting out the offending words on his plates. The court ruled in his favor.

Then Governor Meldrim Thomson responded to the Supreme Court ruling by ordering the LIVE FREE...

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