The 1st and 5th Amendments

Freedom of Speech and Power Against Self Incrimination

The 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution

The 1st Amendment states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. This means that it was made to keep the government from creating any laws against the practice of any religion and the freedom of the press and speech.
  • The 1st Amendment was submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789 and it was adopted on December 15, 1791.
  • This was not originally the 1st Amendment listed on the Bill of Rights, but was eventually moved up.
  • The First Amendment can apply to conduct that is intended to be understood as expression - like flag burning.

The 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution

The 5th Amendment states that no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. In simpler terms this means that no person can be forced to speak upon a case without volunteering and any person can not be subject for the same crime twice.
  • The 5th Amendment was passed in 1789 and was ratified in 1791. It came into effect on December 15th of that year.
  • The ideas of the 5th Amendment can be traced back as far as 1215, in the Magna Carta.
  • It was introduced into the Constitution by James Madison.
  • Although a defendant cannot be punished for using his right to silence during a criminal trial, there are some consequences to using it in a civil trial.