The First Amendment
The right to worship, speech, press, assemble, and petition
The right to free worship
The First Amendment has two guarantees of religious freedom. The first ones states that Congress can make no faith the official religion of the United States and Congress can't make laws that favor any religion over the other. The second one states that citizens can have any religious belief they choose without fear of punishment or harm. When the First Amendment was being established, it was debated whether or not religious teachers should be paid. George Washington agreed, but James Madison disagreed. While in court, the judge agreed with Madison in Thomas Jefferson's words, there is, "a wall of separation between church and state." This shows that government and religion will never interfere and are two totally separate things.
The right to free speech and press
The first amendment establishes the right to free speech and press. The freedom of speech and press are imperative to everyday life through newspapers, magazines, books, and television. Although, freedom of the press must be used carefully and must not be taken for granted. While using freedom of press, you must not make false accusations or slander anyone. You also must not publish information that could help the enemy when at war. The same thing follows through for freedom of speech. Although, citizens have the right to speak freely anywhere, the information being spoken must not endanger public safety in anyway. Americans learned about this right back in 1735. A man named John Peter Zenger was arrested for printing reports stating that the governor of New York had taken bribes. Zenger was arrested for damaging the governor's good name. Zenger's lawyer argued that it was not fair for a man to be jailed for speaking and/or writing the truth. The jury agreed on this and Zenger was acquitted. This shows that centuries ago, people understood the meaning of the freedom of speech and press.
Some of the most important men establishing the First Amendment
There is "a wall of separation between church and state."
Religion teachers should be paid for teaching students.
Religion teachers should not be paid for teaching students.
The Right to Assemble and Petition
The First Amendment includes the right to assemble and petition. These rights give citizens the right to protest and gather together peacefully. These allows citizens to march and protest without getting arrested as long as it remains peaceful. A question that was brought up a few years ago in 1969 was what if an assembly is peaceful, but the people watching it are not? This question came up during a case of Gregory v.s. Chicago. Dick Gregory led a peaceful protest in the form of a march to the home of the mayor of Chicago's house. Outraged residents living in the same neighborhood got out of hand and started throwing eggs at the marchers. Police became fearful of a riot and of things going crazy, so they told the marchers they must leave. When the marchers refused to do so, they were all arrested. In court, the marchers argued there basic rights stated in the First Amendment. The court agreed with the protesters saying that they did assemble and petition peacefully. They even stated that if anyone should have been arrested it should have been the belligerent neighbors.
In conclusion, the First Amendment is one of the most important amendments because it states five freedoms to all United States citizens. So next time, you go to church or you pray, think of the First Amendment that gives you the right to do that.