The Amendments

of the Constitution

Bill of rights song (good version)

Amendment 1: Freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly.

The Constitution of the United States of America states: "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."


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Freedom of Speech

The government cannot prevent individuals from freely expressing their opinions. However, freedom of speech is not unlimited. Laws prohibit libel and slander. Slander is false speech intended to damage a persons reputation. Libel is similar to slander except that it applies to written and published statements. Also, no one can say anything that can cause danger. Irving Feiner was college student. He was arrested for making a speech to african americans and white people in Syracuse, New York. Feiner was making bad remarks about President Harry S. Truman, the American Legion, The Mayor of Syracuse and other local political officials. However after consideration, the Supreme Court ruled that he did not violate his freedom of speech. They arrested him only because they though he was starting a riot which he didn't.
I think that the rules for freedom of speech are well stated. People should be allowed to say what they want, but not if it is going to cause danger. Peoples lives should not be put at risk because of what someone else says.

Freedom of Religion

Freedom of Religion gives people the right to worship as they please or if they want not have any religion at all. In the case of Edwards vs. Aguillard in 1987, public schools said that the Creationism Act violated their freedom of religion. The issue was whether a statute that requires schools teaching evolution science, also forced the schools to teach about creation science. In a 7-2 decision, the court ruled that this act did violate their freedom of religion. The man who wrote this act was forcing the schools to promote his religious beliefs not theirs, which is a violation of freedom of religion.
I agree with amendment 1 that people should have the right to worship as they please. It is your choice what your customs and beliefs are. The government should not have to tell you what to do with your religion.

Freedom of Press

The press (newspaper, books, radio, television, movies, and the internet) can publish what they want. Unlike some countries, the American Press is not subject to prior restraint- the government cannot censor information before it is published or broadcast. The freedom of press was used in the the 1988 case of Hazelwood School District vs. Kuhlmeier. Students produced a newspaper for a class assignment. In the newspaper you had to include student-written articles about teen pregnancy and the impact of divorce on kids. The issue was whether school officials can censor school-sponsored student publications when they believe material is inappropriate for younger students. By a 5-3 vote, the Court held that school officials can censor school-sponsored student publications when they have issues related to educational concerns.
Freedom of Press is a way for people to express their opinions and feelings on certain subjects through newspapers, radio, ect. I agree with the fact that the government should not be able to tell you that you cannot publish something. The press publishes what they think, not what the government says.

Freedom of Assembly

People have the right to assemble in groups and hold demonstrations. People may pass out pamphlets, hold meetings, and peaceably advertise their beliefs, but courts have ruled that they can require a group to obtain a permit before holding meetings or demonstrations. 187 petitioners that consisted of African- Americans, high school and college students, assembled at the Zion Baptist Church in South Carolina on March 2, 1961. The students argued to the State House grounds to express their opinions on the civl rights of African Americans. They did not do anything violent. The court ruled that the people were supposed to be in arresting, convicting, and punishing the petitioners, for freedom of speech, free assembly, and freedom of petition.
I agree with freedom of assembly because people should be allowed to voice their opinion by holding demonstrations and meetings.

Right to Petition

The right to petition means that people have the right to criticize the government, sign petitions in support of an idea, to present those petitions to government officials, and to send letters to those officials. In 1966 five black people participated in a sit-in at a local branch library to pretest segregation at the library. The Supreme Court ruled that this was ok and protected their right to petition.
I think that the right to petition is very good. People should be allowed to support ideas that they think are right and to stand up for what they believe.

History

The first amendment is in the Constitution because the founders wanted the Constitution to protect the rights of the citizens. British parliament did not give us the rights that are now under the first amendment. They made the First Amendment to protect our rights for freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition because of everything that had happened with the British.

Amendment 2: Right to Bear Arms

The Constitution of the Unites States of America states: "A well regulate Militia, being necessary to the security of a free Stat, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
The right to bear arms means that people are allowed to own guns. You are allowed to own firearms but Congress can regulate the interstate sale of weapons.The State of Maryland currently prohibits the carry of firearms, unless you have a permit issued by the state. To get these permits you have to have a good reason. In 2002, Raymond Woollard was the victim of a home invasion by his son-in-law. Subsequent to this crime, he asked for a permit and was given one. In 2009 a second renewal application by Woollard was denied because he had failed to provide evidence of a continuing threat to his safety. The board of Maryland said that he had not submitted any documents to verify threats occurring in his house, where he can already carry a gun. He had violated his right to bear arms.
I do not think that the second amendment should be allowed because some people take advantage and use guns for harm. Some people use the right to bear arms to kill innocent people and i think that it is not ok.

History

The second amendment is in the Constitution because the founders believed that if citizens are armed than they would be able to defend the country during times of war. The founders feared tyranny so they gave people guns so that they could protect themselves if a tyrant came.

Samantha Gould- period 2