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.




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