Our first amendment is fundamental. Without our first amendment the government could very possibly establish a national religion thus causing minority religions to be persecuted. Protesters would be silenced, press would be punished for criticizing the government and its officials. Citizens would not be allowed to mobilize in push for social change. The first amendment was written and adopted to guarantee and enforce our basic human freedoms. When our Constitution was signed in the year 1787 it did not have these crucial freedoms, which are not outlined in our Bill of Rights. The first amendment if composed of 45 words which were written by James Madison.
The first amendment is composed of five basic freedoms. The freedoms granted to us by this amendment are the freedom of speech, press, religion, petition and assembly. Speech, it is our right to speak our minds without being punished by the government, this does not simply encompass oral expression. Speech includes photography, dress code, painting, dancing, song writing and any other form of self-expression. Secondly we have the right to publish and make information or opinions available to the mass media. This included several outlets and the government should not interfere. We can publish newspapers, newsletter, blogs, cds, dvds, etc. Having this freedom of press in conclusion leads us as the public to discover the truth, it facilitates our participation in making political decisions, as well as keeping a check on abuse of governmental power. One article I read sums up in a few words why freedom of press is so important “Protecting the freedom of press protects your right to know”. Freedom of religion, this grants us the right to practice any religion of our choice or choose not to part take in any religion. Religious freedom is composed of two main clauses. First being the establishment clause, which prohibits the government from establishing an official religion or giving preference to any religion in particular. Secondly the free exercise clause states that government cannot limit or control religious actions or rituals. Ultimately these clause are intended to keep and maintain church and state two very separate entities. Freedom of petition consist of people having the right to appeal to the government for or against policies that might affect them or simply a topic they feel very strongly about. Finally the freedom of assembly, granting people the right to gather in public to assemble protest, marches and demonstrations.
Based on the video shown by Jimmy Kimmble and the number of people in the class who knew the first amendment previous to my presentation I concluded not many of us know our rights. Many know they are free