Important Amendments

Amendment 1

Freedom of Speech

Amendment 1 guarantees the freedom of speech. Although we are entitled to the freedom of Speech, we are not entitled to slander and libel. Slander is false speech and libel is written false speech. The founders wanted this in the Bill of Rights because back in the colonial days, people got tarred and feathered for expressing their opinions. Even today there are things about freedom of speech. In 1949, a college student named Irving Feiner made a speech on a downtown city street in New York. Feiner called the Mayor of NYC and President Truman in "bums" and he also commented that the Negroes don't have equal rights and they should rise up in arms and fight for their rights. The crowd became angry and threatened Feiner, and a police officer asked Feiner to end his speech. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of NY because Feiner's actions created the danger of a riot. I do believe that the freedom of speech is applied the way it should be. I think that calling the Mayor and the President "bums" is okay, because we have the right to criticize public officials and it is just expressing your opinion. When Feiner commented that the Negroes should arm themselves and fight for their rights, that was not okay. It almost started a riot and what if the Negroes took his advice (bad advice, but advice) and armed themselves and did fight for their right?
Obama Defends Free Speech At UN

Freedom of Religion

Amendment 1 protects the freedom of religion and separation of church and state. It allows people to worship as they please, or, if they prefer, to have no religion at all. The pilgrims that came to America on thew Mayflower came mostly because they weren't allowed to have their own religion back in England. During the Vietnam War, people that were drafted by the armed forces who had a religious belief that didn't allow the killing or harming of others, were allowed to serve their country in other ways (conscientious objector). I think this was good because people should not be forced to act against their religious beliefs. This freedom is applied correctly because no one should feel ashamed or be put in jail for having a certain religion.

Freedom of the Press

Amendment 1 guarantees the right to freedom of the press. The First Amendment protects the expression of ideas in newspapers, books, radio, television, and, to some extent, movies and the Internet. The American press is not subject to prior restraint, which means that the government cannot see and change information before the press presents it. Historically, the English government and the American Colonial government had censorship laws controlling what could be published. Americans especially did not want the government to have "prior restraint" (seeing and changing something before it's published). In 2010, our president, Barack Obama, required that the Department of State allow the freedom of the press in foreign countries that are allies with the U.S. This happened because a journalist from the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Pearl, was murdered in Pakistan. I think that this decision was good because it protects U.S. citizens in other countries and promotes freedom and democracy in those countries.

Right to Assembly

Amendment 1 guarantees the right to assembly. This means that people may pass our pamphlets, hold meetings, and peaceably advertise their beliefs, but you must have a permit before holding meetings or demonstrations. In 1670, William Penn was arrested for giving a sermon to a group of Quakers in the street in front of his church. He was charged with unlawful assembly that disturbed the King's peace. The Judge in the case tried to force a guilty verdict for Penn. All of the colonies remembered this example in their Declarations of Rights and included the right to peaceful assembly for its citizens. Over the course of modern American history, striking workers, Civil Rights advocates, anti-war demonstrators, and Ku Klux Klan marchers have taken to the streets in protest or in support of their causes. Although I may not agree with each groups opinions, they still have a right to assemble and make their points. These protesters and supporters are just expressing what they think is right without threatening anyone or thing and they should always be able to do so.

Right to Criticize Government Officials and Petition Peacefully

Amendment 1 says that people have the right to criticize government officials or their actions. You may sign petitions in support of an idea present those petitions to government officials, and send letters to those officials. You can say something like "Let's all vote during the election and overthrow the president's power with our votes!", but you cannot say something like "Tomorrow at 5 p.m., lets all go kill the president." You can't say anything to harm government officials without votes. In 1689, the English Declaration of Right (based on the Magna Carta) states that subjects of the King are entitled to petition the King without fear of prosecution. A more recent peaceful petition 2012-2013 was when the citizens of Texas signed a petition asking to secede from the U.S. The White House immediately rejected the petition. I think this decision was good because the U.S. is not a temporary unit of states. It's permanent.

Amendment 2

Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Amendment 2 states that citizens of the U.S. have the right to own guns. It was originally intended to stop the national government from repeating British actions: taking guns from the colonies during the war. This amendment seems to support the right to own firearms, but Congress has been able to stop people from buying certain guns and prohibiting certain people from buying guns. Currently, in 2013, there has been a lot of dialogue about our right to bear arms. There have been many incidents in the recent past where people have used guns inappropriately. This is causing a national discussion as to whether or not the second amendment is dated and needs to be changed. If the government were to take away or severely limit citizens' rights to bear arms, this could also lead to an erosion of other Constitutional rights.
Sen. Chuck Schumer - The Left Must 'Admit There Is A Second Amendment Right To Bear Arms'