Amendment I

By: Jamie Charmes

Amendment I

Amendment I says "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 people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Freedom of Speech

Explanation of Freedom of Speech

Democracies have the rule of freedom of speech. It is a rule that states that people may speak their opinions, but usually against the government or a ruler.

Freedom of Speech Historically

Scholars say that Freedom of Speech first appeared around the 5th or 6th century in the Roman empire. The English Bill of Rights of 1689, 1789's Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen this was a document adopted by France during the French Revolution, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and many other documents included freedom of speech because I believe that freedom of speech is important because people just say "but I have the right of freedom of speech" and I think you are taking it to far if you have hurt anyone. Freedom of speech was used later, as a way to stop censorship.

Current Use of Freedom of Speech

In 1984 there was a man named Johnson who burned an American flag as a protest of Ronald Reagan. Johnson was arrested under Texas Law that states you may not deface a flag of America or Texas. Johnson sued and got to the Supreme Court. They agreed with the decision of Texas because burning the flag was "expressive conduct" in an attempt to "convey a particular message".

Opinion on Freedom of Speech

My opinion on Freedom of Speech is that there should be a definite limit on freedom of speech. I think the limit should be that if you hurt someone or cause chaos by saying something you should be guilty and not be able to say anything that could cause chaos or hurt someone.

Freedom of Religion

Explanation of Freedom of Religion

People have the right to be any religion they please, freedom of religion also includes the freedom to not follow a religion or to change religion.

History of Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion was a very hot topic throughout history since, everywhere you go there were people fighting over religion. The crusades and Elizabeth vs. Mary Queen of Scots come to mind. Cyrus, the great Persian leader was the first to include freedom of religion. Asoka, the great Indian leader, also introduced this.

Current Use of Freedom of Religion- McCollum vs. Board of Education

In 1940, local Jewish, Roman Catholic, and some Protestant groups formed the Champaign (IL) Council on Religious Education. The group, with cooperation of the Champaign Board of Education, offered voluntary classes in religion to public school students. The classes were held during the school day and those children not participating were forced to go elsewhere in the school to pursue secular studies. In order to participate, a student needed to have a permission slip signed by his parents.

Opinion on Freedom of Religion

My opinion on freedom of religion is that nobody should be forced to a certain religion and that you should not have to study about a religion you don't believe in.

Freedom of Press

Explanation of Freedom of Press

Freedom of press is the freedom of communication and expression through mediums including various electronic media and published materials.

Freedom of Press Historically

The law about the Freedom of Press was first made in 1539 in the Polish and Lithuanian commonwealth. Then in 1766 Sweden and Finland adopted a similar law and then about five years later Denmark and Norway did too. Adolf Hitler was a person who took away the freedom of press for them. During the Revolutionary War, the Founding Fathers identified the free press as a major source of protecting their liberties.

Current Use Freedom of Press on Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier

In 1983 at Hazelwood East High School in Missouri, a student written and edited newspaper (in a jornalism class) wanted to print two articles that the school principal found inappropriate. One of the articles was a story descibing three students' experiences with pregnancy. The principal believed that the students might be identified indirectly. Also, the story's references to sexual activity and birth control were inappropriate to some younger students in the school. A second article concerned a student who blamed her father for her parent's divorce. The principal thought that article did not allow the father a chance to respond. The school refused to allow these stories to be included in the newspaper. Kuhlmeier and other students filed suit against the principle and school district.

Opinion on Freedom of Press

My opinion on freedom of press is that the press should not be able to know and get pictures and information about everything. I agree with the conclusion of Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier.

Freedom to Assemble

Explanation of Freedom to Assemble

Freedom of assembly may be used to distinguish between the freedom to assemble in public places and the freedom of joining an association. Freedom of assembly is often used in the context of the right to protest, while freedom of association is used in the context of labor rights and the Constitution of the United States, is interpreted to mean both the freedom to assemble and the freedom to join an association.

Freedom to Assemble Historically

The First Amendment to the U.S. Bill of Rights explicitly protects "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Freedom to assemble was established in 1790. The advocates of American liberty began to see that the right to assemble was of key importance to those who wanted to correct wrongs done by their government. If they could not assemble, they could not achieve their goals.

Current Use of Freedom to Assemble

In Oakland, California, police violently attack protestors affiliated with the occupy movement, spraying them with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. The mayor later apologizes for the excessive use of force.

Opinion on the Current Use of Freedom to Assemble

I think the police went a little to violent and that I agree with the conclusion. I think they handled it perfectly.

Right to Petition

Explanation of The Right to Petition

The right to petition government for redress of grievances is the right to make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of, a government, without fear of punishment or reprisals.

The Right to Petition Historically

The actual concept of petitioning the government is said to reach at least as far back as the Magna Carta, one of the first documented formal legal systems that was composed by Kingdom of England in 1215. Then the right to petition was confirmed in the English Declaration of Rights, written in 1689, which states that subjects of the King are entitled to petition the King without fear of prosecution.

Current Use of Right to Petition- Borough of Duryea vs. Guarnieri

Charles Guarnieri, a fired Pennsylvania police chief, filed a grievance against his discharge and was reinstated under new restrictions on how to perform his job. Guarnieri filed another grievance protesting those restrictions, and then filed suit claiming that he had been retaliated against illegally in violation of his First Amendment petition right. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, running against the tide of most other state and federal courts, ruled in favor of Guarnieri’s petition-clause claim.

Opinion on the Right to Petition

The right to petition is an awesome right that we have in this country. This right not only lets people have freedom to stand up and speak out against injustices they feel are occurring, but also lets people have the power to help change those injustices.

Amendment VIII

Amendment VIII

Amendment VIII says "excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

No Cruel and Severe Punishments for Crimes

Explanation of No Cruel Punishments for Crimes

Cruel and unusual punishment is a phrase describing punishment which is considered not acceptable due to the suffering, pain, or humiliation it inflicts on the person dealing with it.

No Cruel Punishments for Crimes Historically

These exact words were first used in the English Bill of Rights in 1689, and later were also adopted by the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution (ratified 1791) and British Slavery Amelioration Act (1798). Very similar words, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment", appear in Article Five of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

Current Use of Cruel Punishments

The high court stopped Buck's Sept. 15 execution in order to decide whether to take up the case. Buck, 48, was sentenced to die for the July 1995 murders of his former girlfriend, Debra Gardner, and her friend, Kenneth Butler. Buck also shot his sister, Phyllis Taylor, in the chest at point-blank range, but she survived and later argued that the killer should be spared.

Opinion on the Current Use of Cruel Punishments

I believe that the death penalty is the right decision if he has caused the death of 3 people. So I agree with this conclusion because he could maybe escape and kill many more people.