The Amendments

Ava Goldstone

Big image

Amendment 1: Freedoms of Expression

Big image
Big image

The Constitution states in the First Amendment 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."
Big image
The website link above is an example of the First and Second Amendments in current news.

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech gives you the right to verbally express an opinion about something without the threat of government putting you in jail. Even though people have freedom of speech, there are restrictions. Some restrictions are that you cannot libel, slander, or or use speech that hurts people. Two examples are yelling "fire" during a movie or shouting "bomb" in a crowded airport.

The Founding Fathers wanted to ensure individual freedoms. (They were responding to what life was like while living under an English monarchy.)

My opinion about freedom of speech is that people should have the right to say what they want when they want. There are always going to be restrictions, but I believe that people should have freedom of speech.

An example of freedom of speech is having the right to put a bumper sticker on your car that supports a presidential candidate.

Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion allows every person to have the religion or belief of their choice and have the right to freely show it. The First Amendment allows people to practice their religion in the way that they want to.

When the colonists lived in England, they did not have religious freedom. When they came to America, the ability to chose their own religion was important enough to make it part of the First Amendment.

A current example of freedom of religion occurred after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. After the Twin Towers fell down, there was a conflict about whether the Muslim people should be allowed to build a mosque near where the Twin Towers once stood.

My opinion about freedom of religion is that people should have the right to practice the religion of their choice. Government should not dictate whether people should believe in one religion, another religion, or no religion at all.

Big image
This is a picture of an American flag. This symbolizes that Americans have the freedom to celebrate their own religion.
Big image
This is also a picture of an American flag stating that freedom of religion is for ANY religion.
Big image
This picture shows all of the different religious symbols, such as Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc.

Freedom of Press

Freedom of press is the right to publish newspapers, magazines, and other printed matter without government's control. This material can be printed, broadcast, or electronically distributed. Historically, there were trials in the colonial period that set precedents for including freedom of press in the First Amendment. An example is the trial of John Peter Zenger. In 1735, Zenger, a newspaper publisher, had to defend himself against charges of libel. The government did not like what he wrote. This trial is looked upon as a case that lead to freedom of the press.

In my opinion, freedom of the press means that people can express themselves in newspapers, online, in the movies, and in magazines without the government interfering with the content.

As in freedom of speech, there are limits to freedom of the press in terms of libel. A recent example that highlights the issue of freedom of the press is the movie Zero Dark Thirty. Some argued that the movie went too far when it showed the methods that the CIA used to torture prisoners.

Big image
This is a picture of a man wearing a freedom of the press hat. His face is the American flag. This states that, "our Founding Fathers knew strong, vigorous reporting would serve America best."
Big image

Political Cartoon

The Statue of Liberty is a symbol for the freedoms that Americans have in the United States. She holds up a newspaper to show her support for freedom of press.

Freedom to Assemble

Freedom to assemble is having the right to gather people either privately or publicly. People can enter groups for all different purposes, politically, religiously, or socially. By gathering together to accomplish a common goal, people can share their ideas in more effective manner. The importance of freedom to assemble, historically, can refer back to before colonial times. Under the English Parliament, the rights of English citizens to gather in public were limited. The English monarchy frequently was frightened that the gathering of groups of people might lead to the overthrow of government.

My opinion on freedom to assemble is that citizens should have the right to come together to discuss their thoughts and beliefs or to protest.

A current example of the freedom to assemble is Occupy Wall Street. People from all over America came together for a common belief. Occupy Wall Street is a type of resistance movement that has no particular leader. The people of this movement are from all different ethnic backgrounds, genders, and political beliefs. This movement represents the 99% of people who do not want to deal with the selfishness and dishonesty of the 1%. There is a picture and a political cartoon shown below.

Right to Petition

Right to petition means that people can ask for changes in the government. There are many different ways to petition, such as collecting signatures and sending them out to the elected representative; write, call, or email the representative; or support groups that lobby the government. Throughout history, the actual concept of petitioning the government is said to reach at least as far back as the Magna Carta. After the right to petition was put in the Constitution, the government had to listen to the people. This dates back to John Locke.

My opinion on the right to petition is that citizens should have the right to share their opinion about government. In a way, you need to have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly to petition because you need to express your belief and a lot of people gather together to do so.

A current example of the right to petition is the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD. This is a national nonprofit organization that defends equal treatment for the gay and lesbian community. They have initiated many petitions against current government practices. Some examples are written petitions, conferences, and even parades. Visit the link below to learn more.

Big image
This is a picture of citizens waiting in line to sign a petition.
Any American can start their own petition to support a cause. Here is a website, linked below, that can be used as a guide.

Amendment 2: Right to Bear Arms

The Constitution states in the Second Amendment that,

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Although the Second Amendment is only one sentence long, it carries a tremendous message. This amendment allows every citizen in the United States the right to bear arms in order to defend oneself or property. Recent events, including the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, have prompted the nation to rethink the meaning and modern application of the Second Amendment. Historically, the Second Amendment stems from the framers idea that freedom can be protected and upheld with the existence of an armed militia (citizen army).

In my opinion, people should be allowed to own guns. There should be a limit, however, on assault weapons and ammunition that are intended to kill a mass of people in a short amount of time. Universal background checks should be required for anyone who wants to own a gun. That way, those with criminal records or a history of mental illness can be prohibited from the privilege of gun ownership.

Big image
A makeshift memorial for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.