Free Speech, Religion, and Press

Amendment one

The First Amednment

"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 grievance."

Freedom of Speech

What it Means

The right to freedom os speech says that you can say or express yourself however you want unless it harms or downgrades someone publicly.

Why We Wrote It

The writers of the Constitution allowed freedom of speech because before the colonists came here they were afraid to speak out publicly against he government because they might be beheaded.

A Modern Example

In march 1949 Irving Feiner made a speech criticizing leaders of the country. He was arrested for disruption of peace. He argued that New York was violating his freedom of speech the court ruled in favor of New York. I think that the court made the right the decision because he put himself and others in danger.

How We Use It Opinion

I Like the way the amendment is used because it gives freedom to say what you want, while keeping other people safe.

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Freedom of the Press

What it Means

You can write what you want without prior restraint which means the government cannot censor your writing unless it causes harm to the country. You are responsible what you right as people can sue over libel and slander.

Why They Wrote It

They made freedom of the press so people could put their own opinion in the press without punishment. The king would punish someone for speaking against him.

A Modern Example

The New York Times started to write part of the "Pentagon Papers" which talked about the Vietnam war. The Nixon administration said that this could give the enemy insight to our plans and prolong the war. The court ruled in favor of the New York Times. I think that this decision was the right one because the papers were not causing harm to out country.

How We Use it Opinion

In my opinion freedom of the press is used correctly because you can say what you want, but you are responsible from what you say.

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Freedom of Religion

What it Means

Freedom of Religion gives you the right to practice any religion freely (congress can not make a law saying you can not practice a certain religion).

Why They Wrote It

The king said that the people could only practice his religion so when the colonists move here they were able to practice free religion.

A Modern Example

The Supreme Court considered a law that allowed students to leave school for religious activity if a written signature is given. The Supreme Court upheld the law. I think the Supreme Court should have changed the law so it made that there is no school on important holidays for all major religions.

How We Use it Opinion

I like the way we are able to use this right because anyone can practice any religion they want.

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Freedom to Assembly

What it Means

The people of the United States are allowed to call people together to talk about a certain topic, unless it harms our nation or us, or disturbs the peace.

Why They Wrote It

The King would not allow people to have rallys or speeches, especially if they were criticizing him.

A Modern Example

DeJonge was convicted for holding a meeting with the help of a communist party, but the supreme court reversed the ruling saying that he was exercising his freedom of assembly. I agree with ruling as he was not publicly harming our country

How We Use it Opinion

I like the way we are able to use the freedom of assembly because we can gather people together to talk about something.

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The Right to Petition

What it Means

We can petition our government for certain things, and if we get a certain amount of signatures the president must respond.

Why They Wrote It

This is another way that way we can express ourselves of how we can change our government. They made this because the king would not listen to you if you were not royalty.

A Modern Example

In Texas people signed a petition to become their own country. They needed 25,000 signatures to get a response from The President. The President denied the request fo Texas to become its own country. I agree with the Presidents decision to deny they request of Texas because not a majority of the state signed the petition.

How We Use It

We make petitions to change our system. Even if the President denies the request at least The President will respond.


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Capital Punishment

The Eight Amendment

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

What It Means

You can't hurt someone for means of information, or impose cruel punishment such as hanging or torture.

Why They Wrote It

They wrote it because we wanted to stop cruel punishment from happening, the king might have tarred and feathered or, chopped of your hands because you spoke out at him.

A Modern Example

In 2002 Gary Ewing stole 3 golf clubs worth around $377 from a golf course in California, because of the three strikes rule in California he was convicted of grand theft and sentenced to 25 years in jail, he argued that the punishment was too harsh for his misdemeanor. His request was denied as that was the law in California.

How We Use It

We use it when we feel we are being unfairly sentenced. Even though some peoples appeals may be denied, at least some will be reversed.

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