First Amendment

Giving Americans the freedom to express themselves

First Amendment

The First Amendment to the Constitution gave the people freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to peacefully assemble, and freedom to petition. "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."



  • It was ratified on December 15, 1791.
  • This amendment limits the government's control over expression.
  • Palko v. Connecticut (1937) identified freedom of thought as the universal theme of the First Amendment.