The First Amendment states that people have freedom of speech, the press,
assembly, petition, and the right to practice any religion the would like.

Links to more resources: (M.N.)

Research Focus Questions: What issues prompted the creation of your amendment?
What impact did your amendment have on society at that time?


Question 1:
Are all types of speech protected by the first amendment?
Answer 1: (M.N.)
No, not all types of speech are protected by the first amendment. There are nine types of speech not protected, which are:
  • Fighting words
  • Obscenity
  • Defamation
  • Child Pornography
  • Perjury
  • Blackmail
  • True Threats
  • Incitement to imminent lawless actions
  • Solicitations to commit crimes

Question 2:
Why was it important to include freedom of assembly?
Answer 2: (T.D.)
It was important to include freedom of assembly because the freedom of assembly is the freedom to hold public meetings about the government without the government intruding. This is protected by the Bill of Rights because it allows the citizens to speak freely without intrusion of the government.

Question 3:
Why didn't Congress add the right of privacy to the first amendment?
Answer 3: (T.D.)
The freedom of privacy was not added in the first amendment because other amendments, such as the third and forth amendment, provide housing privacy for citizens against the government and the soldiers. However, some forms of privacy are protected in the first amendment, such as privacy of beliefs and privacy of meetings.

Question 4:
Do students have the same level of first amendment rights as adults?
Answer 4: (T.D.)
Yes, children do have the same amount of first amendment rights as adults. However, adults use the first amendment much more than children, so adults are known to use it instead of students.

Question 5:
How has freedom of assembly helped/affected society?
Answer 5: (T.D.)
Protecting freedom of assembly is considered crucial for creating an open and tolerant society. This right, however, is not absolute. Most constitutional provisions regarding this right specify that only peaceful assemblies are accepted.

Question 6:
Is it constitutional to teach about religion in a public school?
Answer 6: (T.D.)
No, it is not. Public school teachers are forbidden to engage in the practice of religious activities. It is, however, constitutional for teachers to teach about religious history.

Question 7:
How does the first amendment relate to sexuality?
Answer 7: (T.D.)
The first amendment does in fact relate to sexuality. This is because the first amendment encourages freedom of speech, allowing people to speak their mind about how they feel about gay marriage. The first amendment also encourages the freedom of expression, therefore allowing homosexuals to marry whomever they choose.

Question 8:
Other than Congress, can different parts of the government restrict petitioning?
Answer 8: (M.N.)
No. The U.S. Supreme Court has incorporated the freedom of petition of the First Amendment. The right to petition applies equally to state and local governments and protects petitions directed to the judicial, executive and legislative branches.

Question 9:
Can the news media print lies if they have no proof?
Answer 9: (T.D.)
No, the newspaper cannot print lies. If it ruins a person or a company's reputation, that news media can be sued for libel and defamation.

Question 10:
Are people able to speak against something even if they know it's right?
Answer 10: (T.D.)
Yes, the people can speak against anything, even if they know it is right. The freedom of petition and speech allows any form of petition, even if it is pointless and the citizens know it is a waste of time.

What issues prompted the creation of your amendment?

-Miriam Nefesh

When the US became a free country, the citizens demanded a guarantee of their basic freedoms. The representatives of the states came together and talked about making a Bill of Rights to fulfill the citizen’s requests. Those supporting the Constitution, the federalists, argued that many of the state constitutions already protected individual rights and if they did not list them they still existed as natural rights, beyond government authority. Opponents, called the AntiFederalists, disagreed. Remembering their experience as British colonists, the Anti-Federalists feared that the stronger national government would abuse individual rights. Eventually, the federalists and anti federalists agreed that they should make a Bill of Rights. And in that Bill of Rights came the first amendment, the freedom of speech, religion, assembly, petition, and press, rights the citizens deserved after being under the King's harsh rule in England.

What impact did your amendment have on society at that time?

-Timmy Doyle

The first amendment had a significant impact on early american society. For example, U.S. citizens now had more equal rights after the Revolutionary War compared to when the British ruled. Before this law was passed, people could only follow one form of religion. They were not allowed to speak against the government or print their own thoughts in the newspaper. Now that the law was passed, American citizens were able to speak their minds and petition against the government if they pleased. In conclusion, it allowed citizens to have stronger and more improved rights.




FReedom of petition.jpg




Timmy Doyle

The Constitution was created so every American citizen has equal rights. One of the most important amendments that gives Americans their well-deserved rights is the first amendment. However, many people believe that presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to abolish our first amendment rights, but our freedom of speech and assembly is what keeps the United States a strong country.
Trump does, in fact, want to take away the first amendment. Stated in the Washington Post, he seems to have something against the belief of freedom of religion. For instance, "he would "strongly consider" closing down some mosques - a policy that, if enacted, seems as though it would clearly contravene the prohibition against "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion." This means that Donald Trump demands that all mosques are kept under strict surveillance because of their beliefs and religious practices. This strictly violates the freedom of religion and it certainly violates the first amendment. Trump also does not get the concept of freedom of petition. For example, in a rally in Kansas City, Missouri, civil protesters kept interrupting him, and Trump exploded. "I hope these guys get thrown in jail. They'll never do it again. It'll destroy their record. And you know what? I'm going to start pressing charges against all of these people. And then we won't have a problem." Trump is mad about the protesters, which is obvious and we can all understand that. However, he should not have threatened to sue those people and destroy their reputation for calmly protesting against him. The freedom of petition allows non-violent protesting, which was clearly what was happening at the rally. Trump is not in favor of the first amendment, and I am against that.
The first amendment has a big impact on our society today. The freedom of speech allows U.S. citizens to vote for our president. For instance, this up-coming election is a great example of the people deciding who should represent our country. Voting allows us to express our own opinion in a civil manner. This is a very fair system of government that has lasted us over two hundred years. Another great example of the success of the first amendment would be the fact that americans can freely and peacefully petition against the government. For example, during the rally at Kansas City, Missouri, people were respectfully protesting against the fact that Trump should not be running for presidency. They were not harming anyone or arousing feuds, they were just petitioning against Trump. They are fully capable of legally acting like this, as long as it is civil and harmless towards others. Furthermore, the first amendment is a very profitable law in the Constitution.
In conclusion, Donald Trump disapproves of the first amendment, and it is theorized that he plans to erase it right off the Constitution. However, the first amendment is what gives the U.S. citizens enough power to have a significance in society. Trump completely goes against everything stated in the amendment, even though it has lasted perfectly fine other the past two hundred fifty years.

Miriam Nefesh

In the article, Apple opposes judge’s order to hack San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, it states that recently there was an issue where Apple opposed the police request to hack into the San Bernardino shooter’s IPhone. That was because Apple respected the first amendment, where everyone has the rights to freedom of speech, the press, assembly, petition, and the right to practice any religion they would like. Anybody has the right to keep their privacy and their freedom, as addressed in the Constitution, no matter who it is or how bad the person is. The government asked Apple to hack into the shooter’s iPhone, but they responded saying that such a move would be an “unprecedented step,” threatening the security of Apple customers and “no reasonable person would find that acceptable”. Apple opposed the judge’s order but that is not unlawful because of the first amendment. Since the judge was going against it, Apple did not break any laws and would not be charged with anything as a result. Trump says, “I think security over all -- we have to open it up, and we have to use our heads”. The FBI’s intentions were good since we have no tolerance against terrorists. Though this situation is very tragic and breaking through the phone would be a great way to gather information about the shooter, the first amendment must be followed and respected.
The first amendment is still very much relevant to our lives today. Without these rights, we wouldn’t be the “land of the free”. People are allowed to petition against the government without getting arrested or charged but it only allows peaceful petitions. They can speak their mind without getting in trouble, unless they are threatening or hurting someone in the process. For example, there are many petitions about the upcoming presidential candidates but they are not getting arrested for it because of their freedom of petition and their freedom of speech. The first amendment prevents the government from censoring and going over newspapers, publications, and much of the internet. Also, newpapers are able to print editorials and opinions and since the first amendment states that we have freedom of the press, we are able to do that. Without freedom of religion, we wouldn’t be able to practice what we would like to, unlike many other countries where it is confined to a set one. Without the first amendment, the United States would not be the same. It lowers the amount of power that the government has and raises the amount that people have so it is balanced unlike a dictatorship. The first amendment truly makes the United States what we think of it today, a free country based on the people.