90 First Amendment Essay Topic Ideas & Examples
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- US Constitution Reflections on the First Amendment Paper The first amendments made on the constitution of the United States of America in the year 1789 concerned the bill of rights.
- The Free Exercise Thereof: Freedom of Religion in the First Amendment The Freedom of Religion clause in the First Amendment represents one of the few official documents on the planet that corroborates free will, specifically, the right to choose, in the arena of religion.
- On the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution The freedom that Americans experience comes at a price because there are conflicts and problems that arise from the interpretation and implementation of the First Amendment, however, many legal experts are saying that it is […]
- Free Speech: First Amendment Obscenity is one of the exceptions, according to the US Miller Test, obscenity is a test used by Supreme Court to determine if an expression or a speech can be termed obscene and whether it […]
- What the Founders Meant by the First Amendment? The first amendment was written over 200 years ago by the founders who wanted to protect both the State and religion from interfering in each others tasks.
- First Amendment: Commercial and Political Free Speech However, the degree to which the First Amendment protects commercial speech is not the same as that for other forms of speech protected by the Amendment.
- Journalism, the First Amendment and Egypt This essays suggests that the First Amendment freedom of the press clause has transcended its physical boundaries and now functions as a protective ideological bubble not only for American journalists but for journalists all over […]
- Founding Fathers Religion: The First Amendment Role in the Church-State Separation As a result, a resolute transformation from the Puritan Fathers in 1639, who uphold the religion as a foundation of any society, to the Founding Fathers in 1787, who accepted freedom of religion as an […]
- Does Title VII Conflict with the First Amendment The government is not justified to disallow religious expression at workplaces by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Title VII statute and the First Amendment both provide protection for an employee’s religious rights.
- First Amendment in the US Modern Justice System Also, the paper discusses the significance of the verdict passed by the Supreme Court in each case and their relevance or influence on the rights of American citizens today.
- Violent Video Games and First Amendment Protection Violent games appear to be a legitimate type of media with its right for free expression; however, minors should also be protected from the violent and sexual content of video games because they lack media […]
- Religious Establishment Clause of the First Amendment Therefore, based on the theoretical application of the Constitution, the chosen case violates the Religious Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S.
- Free Speech in the First Amendment The first amendment of the Constitution states, “Congress will 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 […]
- First Amendment Right of Free Speech in the USA In this case, it is seen that the Public Law of New Hampshire which bans under punishment “any offensive, derisive or annoying word to any other person who is lawfully in any street or other […]
- The First Amendment – Religion and Expression In the ruling of Skokie case, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the residents of Skokie, although it still allowed the planned marching by the NSP to go no.in this […]
- Pornography or Obscenity and the First Amendment Amendment 1 of the US Constitution states that the “Congress will make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, […]
- Cyberbullying and the First Amendment Under the geographical approach, the defendant can argue that since the event in question occurs online and outside of school property, it is covered by the First Amendment and the school has “no authority to […]
- The First Amendment: Free Speech and Education However, this is the case only “unless school authorities have reason to believe that such expression will substantially interfere with the work of the school or impinge upon the rights of other students”.
- Vaccination in the Context of the First Amendment The purpose of this paper is to review the dilemma in the context of the First Amendment and the free exercise of religion.
- First Amendment: Religion and Education The right to education is protected by human rights legislation guaranteeing to adapt education to the requirements of individuals and communities that are evolving and to the needs of students in their varied socio-cultural contexts.
- First Amendment Rights and Access to Opinions
- Censorship and the First Amendment: The American Citizen’s Right to Free Speech
- The First Amendment and Its Impact on Education
- Should the First Amendment Stop Protecting Hate Speech
- The First Amendment Speaks on the Freedoms of Religion
- Interpreting the First Amendment of the Constitution
- Should Racist Speech Enjoy Protection Under the First Amendment
- How the First Amendment Rights Have On Advancing Democracy
- The First Amendment and the Constitutional Freedoms in American Schools
- The First Amendment and Conservative Rulings of the Supreme Court
- Ever-Changing Freedoms: The First Amendment of the American Constitution and Challenges It Faces
- How the First Amendment Protects Freedom of Speech
- The First Amendment and Its Impact on Media
- Case Problems Involving the First Amendment
- The First Amendment and Its Legal Constrains
- Banning Books Goes Against the First Amendment
- Federal District Court Alleging First Amendment Violations
- The First Amendment and Label Drug Promotion
- Discussing Three Freedoms From the First Amendment
- The First Amendment and Its Impact on Language
- Public Safety Outweigh Petitioner’s First Amendment Right
- The Ambiguity and Confusion From the First Amendment
- The First Amendment and the American Judiciary
- Civil Rights and First Amendment
- Cyberbullying and the First Amendment
- Does the First Amendment Affect Your Livelihood
- The First Amendment and Right to Privacy
- Net Neutrality and the First Amendment: Who Has the Right to Free Speech
- Neo-Nazis and Their First Amendment Rights
- Public High School Students Have the First Amendment Right
- Espionage Act Conflicts First Amendment Rights in Wikileaks Case
- Comparing Our First Amendment Rights to the Rights of Those in George Orwell’s 1984
- The Role and Importance of the First Amendment of the Constitution
- First Amendment Rights and Pragmatic Solutions
- The First Amendment: History and Development
- First Amendment Rights, Privacy, and the Paparazzi
- The First Amendment Constitution on the Freedom of Expression
- The Relation Between the First Amendment and Music Censorship
- The First Amendment Anti-discrimination Law
- Does the First Amendment Protect False Campaign Speech
- What Is the Main Purpose of the First Amendment?
- How Free Speech Under the First Amendment Developed?
- What Is the Connection Between Anti-semitism and the First Amendment?
- Does Banning Books Violate the First Amendment?
- Was the First Amendment to the US Constitution Prohibition?
- What Are the First Amendment Issues?
- Does the First Amendment Guarantee the Right of American Citizens to Freedom?
- How Does Censorship Conflict With First Amendment Freedom of Speech?
- What Rights Does the First Amendment Guarantee to Citizens?
- Does the First Amendment Govern Cyberbullying?
- Did President Hoover Limit the First Amendment Rights of the Bonus Army?
- What Are the First Amendment Freedoms?
- Does the Espionage Act Conflict With First Amendment Rights?
- What Changes Did the First Amendment Make to the Constitution?
- How Does the First Amendment Guarantee Freedom of the Press?
- What Is the Significance of the First Amendment to Civil Society?
- What Is the Work of the First Amendment Committee?
- How Does the Supreme Court Interpret the First Amendment?
- What Religious Cases Does the First Amendment Control?
- How Are First Amendment Rights Applied and Limited?
- Does the First Amendment to the US Constitution Regulate Ever-Changing Freedoms?
- How Do First Amendment Rights Affect the Development of Democracy?
- What Is the Interpretation of the First Amendment to the Constitution?
- Does the First Amendment Affect Your Livelihood?
- Does the First Amendment Limit the Government’s Power?
- What Inappropriate Words Should Be Removed From the First Amendment?
- Does Public Safety Override a Plaintiff’s First Amendment Right?
- Should Rap Songs Be Protected by the First Amendment?
- Does the First Amendment Protect False Campaign Speech?
- Should Racist Speech Enjoy Protection Under the First Amendment?
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First Amendment Essays
First amendment freedoms.
There are many important freedoms that are protected by the first amendment but in this essay were going to discuss my opinions on what are the 5 most important ones and why i think that. In my opinion i feel as though the most important freedoms are; freedom of speech, search and seizure, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and the freedom of assembly/ petition. These are the ones that affect people the most. The ones that are used […]
First Amendment Rights and Access to Opinions
In 1972, five burglars were arrested following the break-in of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington D.C. Uncovered, was a plan concocted by members of the official organization of President Nixon’s campaign to photograph campaign documents and install listening devices in telephones. Taped recordings of President Nixon’s conversations revealed the President had clearly obstructed justice by directing members of the CIA to halt the FBI investigation into the DNC break-in. Facing certain impeachment […]
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The First Amendment and Internet
According to the Constitution, the First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech (Volokh). This amendment allows citizens to freely express their ideas through written/spoken words and media such as pictures and films. However, at the same time, they are exposed to a wide range of public opinions and views that may come into conflict with their own personal beliefs and cause discomfort. With media becoming more accessible and public, more facts, opinions, and […]
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the USA
The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows, 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. (U.S. Constitution) Why does freedom of speech matter? Freedom of speech is what protects people from expressing what matters to them. Most […]
The First Amendment and Equal Protecting
The first amendment states that Congress shall make no “law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (Lemon v. Kurtzman). This section of the first amendment refers to the establishment clause and free exercise clause and in other words this prevented the government from investing any of its resources to a particular belief system, or prevent anyone from practicing their own belief system, creating a separation of church and state. When it comes to education states […]
The First Amendment how Important is It?
Have you ever wondered what life would be like without amendments, will it impact our lives not being able to own a gun, practice our own religion, or having our own leader abuse his power? According to the bill of rights, the First Amendment protects our right to freedom of, religion, assembly, press, petition, and speech. In other countries such as North Korea, China, and Iran; citizens do not have freedom of religion, press, and freedom guaranteed to them. Therefore, […]
The First Amendment of Freedom of Speech
For this essay I have picked symbolic speech and a seditious speech. All of these speeches come under the First Amendment of freedom of speech. This is controversial and generates lot of arguments sometimes on a national level. So, what is freedom of speech in reality? It states that the United States Constitution prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, the freedom of the […]
Citizenship: the First Amendment Right
Starting from the time of the passing of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Americans gained liberties. These include freedom of speech, religion, press, petition, and assembly. With this came the questions of who is an American and who is deserving of the full rights of citizenship? The conception of who is has changed over time, including three major times periods from 1865 to 1900, 1900 to 1950, and from 1950 to the present. The time after the […]
About the First Amendment Cases
The First Amendment was created in 1791, which later added twenty seven more into present day that make up the Bill of Rights. Within the First Amendment, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech. (history.com, 2017) This Amendment gives the right of the people to peacefully assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances as well. In the United States Supreme Court, there […]
Comparing our First Amendment Rights to the Rights of those in George Orwell’s “1984”
In George Orwell’s book 1984 he talks about the “Obliteration of Self” in Oceania’s Society. We as Americans have the first amendment which entitles us to the freedom of speech, religion, press, petition and assembly. These five freedoms give American citizens the option to embrace their individuality. The freedom of speech is the most important of the first amendment. People are able to say almost anything they think about the government, people etc., to some extent. If we were living […]
Government Regulation of First Amendment
The US Constitution was drafted to ensure the rights of the American people. Every amendment and article that has been added to the Constitution for that purpose of ensuring the protection of every right of American citizens. Since the Constitution was established, there have been many court cases that challenged American citizens’ rights. Some of these cases have set precedents for future cases such as Marbury v. Madison (1803), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), and Miranda v. Arizona (1966). The Declaration […]
Anti-Semitism and the First Amendment
Thesis statement: Any form of anti-Semitic hate speech in the United States should not be given First Amendment protection as it has proven to cause violence. Introduction: The American Library Association defines free speech in the United States and mentions that it is founded in a belief that freedom of speech requires the government to strictly protect robust debate on matters of public concern even when such debate devolves into distasteful, offensive, or hateful speech that causes others to feel […]
The Policy of the First Amendment
The first amendment conducts to citizens, while many believe that it guarantees them a limit of freedom. We get stuck in an unlawful situations, which forces us to know what our rights are. This is a hotly debated topic that often divides opinions. The first amendment is often discussed yet rarely understood. These rights includes everyone, but some just take advantage over it. It goes without saying this law is one of the most important issues facing us today. The […]
Flag Burning and the First Amendment
Flag Burning and the First Amendment Megan M. Kalbfleisch Grantham University Flag Burning and the First Amendment One golden rule of the First Amendment would be that the United States government cannot ban free expression of any idea. It doesn’t matter how much the majority disagrees with that idea or finds it offensive. Which is why American flag burning is protected under the First Amendment, it’s an expression of an idea. Texas v. Johnson. In 1989 a landmark case involving […]
The Significance of the First Amendment
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the freedoms of religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly.1 Most Americans agree that these freedoms are important, but every American should also consider why this amendment is important and whom this amendment protects. For instance, does freedom of religion protect individuals, religious groups, or non-religious people, and why is it important that people can freely worship? For that matter, does this part of the Constitution prohibit the government from ever interacting with […]
The Origins of the First Amendment
At the constitutional convention that took place in Philadelphia in 1787 James Madison and many other delegates met with the intention of rethinking the Articles of the confederation. The first well-known amendment of the constitution, the first amendment “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 […]
Banned Books and the Law the First Amendment
Should books be banned? Some people think books should be banned. I on the other hand think books should not be banned. I will express my reasoning for why I think books should be unbanned. I think banning books is bad because books are another way to get educated, books are an example of the First Amendment, and books are being censored for being challenging and inappropriate. Reading books is another way to get educated It says in 10 benefits of […]
Introduction for Essay on First Amendment
Deep dive into the first amendment | thesis statement for first amendment essay, conclusion: summary of the amendment process and its importance in u.s. history.
The authority to amend the Constitution of the United States is derived from Article V of the Constitution. After Congress proposes an amendment, the Archivist of the United States, who heads the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), is charged with responsibility for administering the ratification process under the provisions of 1 U.S.C. 106b. The Archivist has delegated many of the ministerial duties associated with this function to the Director of the Federal Register. Neither Article V of the Constitution nor Section 106b describes the ratification process in detail. The Archivist and the Director of the Federal Register follow procedures and customs established by the Secretary of State, who performed these duties until 1950, and the Administrator of General Services, who served in this capacity until NARA assumed responsibility as an independent agency in 1985.
The Process of Amendment Proposal | Research Paper on First Amendment Essay
The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention. The Congress proposes an amendment in the form of a joint resolution. Since the President does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process, the joint resolution does not go to the White House for signature or approval. The original document is forwarded directly to NARA’s Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for processing and publication. The OFR adds legislative history notes to the joint resolution and publishes it in slip law format. The OFR also assembles an information package for the States which includes formal ‘red-line’ copies of the joint resolution, copies of the joint resolution in slip law format, and the statutory procedure for ratification under 1 U.S.C. 106b.
The Archivist submits the proposed amendment to the States for their consideration by sending a letter of notification to each Governor along with the informational material prepared by the OFR. The Governors then formally submit the amendment to their State legislatures, or the state calls for a convention, depending on what Congress has specified. In the past, some State legislatures have not waited to receive official notice before taking action on a proposed amendment. When a State ratifies a proposed amendment, it sends the Archivist an original or certified copy of the State action, which is immediately conveyed to the Director of the Federal Register. The OFR examines ratification documents for facial legal sufficiency and an authenticating signature. If the documents are found to be in good order, the Director acknowledges receipt and maintains custody of them. The OFR retains these documents until an amendment is adopted or fails and then transfers the records to the National
Archives for preservation
A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the States (38 of 50 States). When the OFR verifies that it has received the required number of authenticated ratification documents, it drafts a formal proclamation for the Archivist to certify that the amendment is valid and has become part of the Constitution. This certification is published in the Federal Register and U.S. Statutes at Large and serves as official notice to Congress and to the Nation that the amendment process has been completed.
In a few instances, States have sent official documents to NARA to record the rejection of an amendment or the rescission of prior ratification. The Archivist does not make any substantive determinations as to the validity of State ratification actions, but it has been established that the Archivist’s certification of the facial legal sufficiency of ratification documents is final and conclusive.
Ceremonial Signing of the Certification
In recent history, the signing of the certification has become a ceremonial function attended by various dignitaries, which may include the President. President Johnson signed the certifications for the 24th and 25th Amendments as a witness, and President Nixon similarly witnessed the certification of the 26th Amendment along with three young scholars. On May 18, 1992, the Archivist performed the duties of the certifying official for the first time to recognize the ratification of the 27th Amendment, and the Director of the Federal Register signed the certification as a witness.
The first amendment is one of twenty-seven amendments. There are a few more popular amendments than others. For instance, the second amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms. However, this amendment is probably one of the most controversial amendments because a lot of people think we should get rid of guns because they lead to violence. Another interesting amendment is the first amendment. The first amendment prevents the government from creating laws that would regulate any establishment of religion or any act that would threaten the free speech of religion. The first amendment commands that the government has no interest in religious activity. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise. Thus building a wall of separation between church and state”. The first amendment has three main sections: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press.
The Role of the Supreme Court in Shaping First Amendment Rights
Freedom of speech means the free and public expression of opinions without censorship, interference, and restraint by the government. The term ‘freedom of speech’ that is in the First Amendment encompasses the decision of what to say as well as what not to say. The supreme court during the Chicago police dept. V. Moseley case said, “ But, above all else, the First Amendment means that the government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content. To permit the continued building of our politics and culture and to assure self-fulfillment for each individual, our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship. The essence of this forbidden censorship is content control. Any restriction on expressive activity because of its content would completely undercut the ‘profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.”
Freedom of religion Religious liberty, also known as freedom of religion, is ‘the right of all persons to believe, speak, and act – individually and in community with others. The reason freedom of religion is one of the first subjects addressed in the amendments is because of the founding fathers. Their understanding of the importance of religion to human, social, and political flourishing made them think that they should protect religion first, just in case. Justice William O. Douglas once said, “ The First Amendment commands government to have no interest in theology or ritual; it admonishes government to be interested in allowing religious freedom to flourish—whether the result is to produce Catholics, Jews, or Protestants, or to turn the people toward the path of Buddha, or to end in a predominantly Moslem nation, or to produce in the long run atheists or agnostics. On matters of this kind, the government must be neutral.
Freedom of the press means the right of individuals to express themselves through the publication and dissemination of information, ideas, and opinions without interference, constraint, or prosecution by the government. However, freedom of the press does not mean we can just say anything. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger said: ‘Numerous holdings of this Court attest to the fact that the First Amendment does not literally mean that we ‘are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship.’
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By: History.com Editors
Updated: July 27, 2023 | Original: December 4, 2017
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of speech, religion and the press. It also protects the right to peaceful protest and to petition the government. The amendment was adopted in 1791 along with nine other amendments that make up the Bill of Rights—a written document protecting civil liberties under U.S. law. The meaning of the First Amendment has been the subject of continuing interpretation and dispute over the years. Landmark Supreme Court cases have dealt with the right of citizens to protest U.S. involvement in foreign wars, flag burning and the publication of classified government documents.
Bill of Rights
During the summer of 1787, a group of politicians, including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton , gathered in Philadelphia to draft a new U.S. Constitution .
Antifederalists, led by the first governor of Virginia , Patrick Henry , opposed the ratification of the Constitution. They felt the new constitution gave the federal government too much power at the expense of the states. They further argued that the Constitution lacked protections for people’s individual rights.
The debate over whether to ratify the Constitution in several states hinged on the adoption of a Bill of Rights that would safeguard basic civil rights under the law. Fearing defeat, pro-constitution politicians, called Federalists , promised a concession to the antifederalists—a Bill of Rights.
James Madison drafted most of the Bill of Rights. Madison was a Virginia representative who would later become the fourth president of the United States. He created the Bill of Rights during the 1st United States Congress, which met from 1789 to 1791 – the first two years that President George Washington was in office.
The Bill of Rights, which was introduced to Congress in 1789 and adopted on December 15, 1791, includes the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
First Amendment Text
The First Amendment text reads:
“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.”
While the First Amendment protected freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition, subsequent amendments under the Bill of Rights dealt with the protection of other American values including the Second Amendment right to bear arms and the Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury.
Freedom of Speech
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech . Freedom of speech gives Americans the right to express themselves without having to worry about government interference. It’s the most basic component of freedom of expression.
The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what types of speech is protected. Legally, material labeled as obscene has historically been excluded from First Amendment protection, for example, but deciding what qualifies as obscene has been problematic. Speech provoking actions that would harm others—true incitement and/or threats—is also not protected, but again determining what words have qualified as true incitement has been decided on a case-by-case basis.
Freedom of the Press
This freedom is similar to freedom of speech, in that it allows people to express themselves through publication.
There are certain limits to freedom of the press . False or defamatory statements—called libel—aren’t protected under the First Amendment.
Freedom of Religion
The First Amendment, in guaranteeing freedom of religion , prohibits the government from establishing a “state” religion and from favoring one religion over any other.
While not explicitly stated, this amendment establishes the long-established separation of church and state.
Right to Assemble, Right to Petition
The First Amendment protects the freedom to peacefully assemble or gather together or associate with a group of people for social, economic, political or religious purposes. It also protects the right to protest the government.
The right to petition can mean signing a petition or even filing a lawsuit against the government.
First Amendment Court Cases
Here are landmark Supreme Court decisions related to the First Amendment.
Free Speech & Freedom of the Press :
Schenck v. United States , 1919: In this case, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Socialist Party activist Charles Schenck after he distributed fliers urging young men to dodge the draft during World War I .
The Schenck decision helped define limits of freedom of speech, creating the “clear and present danger” standard, explaining when the government is allowed to limit free speech. In this case, the Supreme Court viewed draft resistance as dangerous to national security.
New York Times Co. v. United States , 1971: This landmark Supreme Court case made it possible for The New York Times and Washington Post newspapers to publish the contents of the Pentagon Papers without risk of government censorship.
The Pentagon Papers were a top-secret Department of Defense study of U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. Published portions of the Pentagon Papers revealed that the presidential administrations of Harry Truman , Dwight D. Eisenhower , John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson had all misled the public about the degree of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Texas v. Johnson , 1990: Gregory Lee Johnson, a youth communist, burned a flag during the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas to protest the administration of President Ronald Reagan .
The Supreme Court reversed a Texas court’s decision that Johnson broke the law by desecrating the flag. This Supreme Court Case invalidated statutes in Texas and 47 other states prohibiting flag-burning.
Freedom of Religion:
Reynolds v. United States (1878): This Supreme Court case upheld a federal law banning polygamy, testing the limits of religious liberty in America. The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment forbids government from regulating belief but not from actions such as marriage.
Braunfeld v. Brown (1961): The Supreme Court upheld a Pennsylvania law requiring stores to close on Sundays, even though Orthodox Jews argued the law was unfair to them since their religion required them to close their stores on Saturdays as well.
Sherbert v. Verner (1963): The Supreme Court ruled that states could not require a person to abandon their religious beliefs in order to receive benefits. In this case, Adell Sherbert, a Seventh-day Adventist, worked in a textile mill. When her employer switched from a five-day to six-day workweek, she was fired for refusing to work on Saturdays. When she applied for unemployment compensation, a South Carolina court denied her claim.
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971): This Supreme Court decision struck down a Pennsylvania law allowing the state to reimburse Catholic schools for the salaries of teachers who taught in those schools. This Supreme Court case established the “Lemon Test” for determining when a state or federal law violates the Establishment Clause—that’s the part of the First Amendment that prohibits the government from declaring or financially supporting a state religion.
Ten Commandments Cases (2005): In 2005, the Supreme Court came to seemingly contradictory decisions in two cases involving the display of the Ten Commandments on public property. In the first case, Van Orden v. Perry , the Supreme Court ruled that the display of a six-foot Ten Commandments monument at the Texas State Capital was constitutional. In McCreary County v. ACLU , the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that two large, framed copies of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky courthouses violated the First Amendment.
Right to Assemble & Right to Petition:
NAACP v. Alabama (1958): When Alabama Circuit Court ordered the NAACP to stop doing business in the state and subpoenaed the NAACP for records including their membership list, the NAACP brought the matter to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled in favor of the NAACP, which Justice John Marshall Harlan II writing: “This Court has recognized the vital relationship between freedom to associate and privacy in one's associations.”
Edwards v. South Carolina (1962): On March 2, 1961, 187 Black students marched from Zion Baptist Church to the South Carolina State House, where they were arrested and convicted of breaching the peace. The Supreme Court ruled in an 8-1 decision to reverse the convictions, arguing that the state infringed on the free speech, free assembly and freedom to petition of the students.
The Bill of Rights; White House . History of the First Amendment; The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Schenck v. United States ; C-Span .
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Essays on First Amendment
Your First Amendment essay gives you a chance to explore how people’s rights were implemented. After the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the founding fathers of the United States set out to create a Constitution, but the document turned out to be flawed: it did not uphold personal rights. Most First Amendment essays follow the process of legal enforcement of human rights in detail. In 1791, ten amendments were released and called The Bill of Rights, which became an official part of the Constitution on December 15 that year. Our samples of essays on First Amendment showcase what rights were enforced in the First Amendment. The first amendment declared that people can not be denied free religion, assembly, speech, press, as well as the right to petition the US government. Review the best First Amendment essay samples below to improve your essay.
Free speech is considered as the freedom of communication for the people. It includes the liberty of the press and the people to say what they want/like and liberty for the people to assemble like protesting peacefully. Also, freedom of speech gives people the opportunity to articulate their feelings and...
The US First Amendment prohibits Congress from passing laws that support an establishment of a specific religion, which is where the idea of a separation between church and state originated. (Van and Kurt 58). The federal government is required to uphold a position of religious neutrality. The sixth article of...
The first amendment of the US constitution includes the right to free speech as a constitutional guarantee. The fundamental idea underlying the cry for free speech was to live without the fear of going to jail for expressing one's opinions. The constitution's creators paved the way for this. The United...
The First Amendment is a legislation that was created that prohibits Congress from adopting laws regarding religious establishment. As a result, there was no restriction on the free exercise of religion, free speech, free press, and the right to congregate and petition the government for redress of people's grievances. (Russo)...
The First Amendment's religion clause in the United States Constitution protects the freedom of religious expression. This clause states that a state may not pass legislation establishing a particular national religion (Durham, Ferrari, Cianitto, & Thayer, 2016). As a result, every American citizen has a right to equality regarding matters...
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The constitution of the United States, recognized as the supreme ruler of the United States, establishes the US government's national structure. The US constitution has had 27 amendments since its coming into force in 1789 ("This is in order to accommodate the evolving needs of the nation (the Constitution) from...
The first amendment to the constitution is perhaps the most significant aspect of the constitution's bill of rights. The amendment guarantees five of the most basic rights, including religious freedom, free expression, free press, free assembly, and the right to lobby the government to redress wrongs. However, there are other...
According to the first amendment, the law regards no religion, but allows its citizens to exercise their free will and practice any religion they want. In educational institutions, religious symbols are not referred to or taught except it is required, and its use should be scrutinized to determine if there...
State Legislation on Children's Educational Programming State legislation states that the Federal Communications Commission should enact rules that will require tv stations to air children's educational programming at least three hours a week. The FCC has offered a limited justification for the imposition of such legislation. However, the majority of the...
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Essay: The Constitution, the First Amendment, and Religious Liberty
The Constitution, the First Amendment, and Religious Liberty
Directions: Read the essay and answer the critical thinking questions.
Throughout world history, religious conflicts have been widespread and bloody. In contrast, Americans of various faiths have been able, with some exceptions, to live side by side in relative harmony. What has made the difference? Religious liberty is one important answer. To support religious liberty, the Founders worked to ensure that government was properly limited in its purpose, as well as in its power.
Virginia’s Religious Revolution
At the time the Constitution was ratified, many of the original 13 states still supported established churches. Many Americans believed that government should support religion because religion promoted virtuous lives and nurtured the social order needed for self-government.
The Anglican Church was the established denomination in Virginia, though citizens could belong to any Christian church. Baptists were a fast-growing minority in Virginia. They did not believe that the government should have so much control over religion, and did not follow Virginia’s law that required a license to preach. As a result, Baptists were arrested, fined, and sometimes physically assaulted. Baptist preachers were whipped and dunked into mud to the point of near drowning. Baptists petitioned the Virginia government to disestablish the Anglican Church, and give all churches equal rights and benefits.
In 1776, the Virginia legislature adopted a Declaration of Rights, which included a provision dealing with religion. George Mason, the Declaration’s chief draftsman, first wrote: “All Men shou’d enjoy the fullest Toleration in the Exercise of Religion, according to the Dictates of Conscience.” But a young James Madison thought Mason’s draft did not go far enough. Madison believed that the language of “toleration” meant that a government could grant—or deny—citizens the privilege of exercising religion. Madison recommended new wording affirming that free religious belief and exercise were a natural right and duty of all. The final Declaration declared “That Religion, or the duty which we owe to our CREATOR, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience.…”
Religious dissenters, who were not members of the established church, thought the logic of the provision would place all churches on an equal footing before the law and lead to disestablishment. However, Virginians would continue to debate the implications of this provision for the next decade.
By the mid-1780s, taxes to support the Anglican Church had been suspended. In 1784, Patrick Henry proposed a general tax called the Bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers [Ministers] of the Christian Religion. Similar to some New England state laws, citizens would choose which Christian church received their support, or the money could go to a general fund to be distributed by the state legislature.
One notable supporter of the bill was George Washington. He wrote to James Madison: “No man’s sentiments are more opposed to any kind of restraint upon religious principles than mine are; yet I must confess, that I am not amongst the number of those who are so much alarmed at the thoughts of making people pay towards the support of that which they profess, if of the denominations of Christians; or declare themselves Jews, Mahomitans or otherwise, & thereby obtain proper relief.”
Opponents of the bill included James Madison. Madison wrote the Memorial and Remonstrance (1785) opposing the proposed tax. He asserted that religion could not be forced on people, and that state support actually corrupted religion. Government properly limited, rather, would promote a civil society in which people of different faiths could maintain their beliefs according to their own consciences. Madison’s side won the debate and Henry’s religious assessments bill did not pass.
The next year, the Virginia legislature passed The Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson. This 1786 law (still on the books in Virginia) banned government interference in religion and individual beliefs. Some, but not all, other states gradually followed the example of Virginia.
The Constitution and the First Amendment
At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the delegates did not discuss basing the government on a religion. The only mention of religion in the body of the U.S. Constitution is to ban religious tests for national office in Article 6, Section 3. Federal employees and elected officials did not have to belong to a specific church or even be religious. This provision passed without debate.
The Constitution likely would not have been ratified without the promise of a Bill of Rights. Many states sent Congress proposed amendments that would add protections from the national government. Included in the proposals was protection for freedom of religion. Congress spent weeks debating different wordings. Finally, amendments were sent to the states for ratification. The religion clauses of the First Amendment read: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The first part, known as the Establishment Clause, prohibited the national government from having anything to do with a national religion. Second, the Free Exercise Clause denied the national government the power to pass laws that stopped individuals from practicing their religions.
States did not have to disestablish their churches because the Constitution and Bill of Rights only applied to the national government. Some of the states maintained established churches and many maintained religious tests for office for many years.
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS
- What was the Bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion? What arguments were put forth for and against it?
- George Washington supported religious liberty, but did not oppose the proposed Bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion. How did he reconcile these positions?
- Why could states establish religions and require religious tests even after the ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights?
- Today, there are over 55 countries with established religions. However, a similar number of countries have moved toward religious freedom over the last 150 years. Why do you think the trend over the last 150 years has been to disestablish religions?
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First Amendment Essay Examples
The First Amendment is one of the most important amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and it guarantees several fundamental rights, including the freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and the press. Writing a 1st Amendment essay can be a great way to explore the significance of these rights and their impact on American society.
When writing an essay on First Amendment, thesis statement is an important part to pay special attention to as it reflects your perspective on the topic. Your thesis should outline the main points you’ll be discussing in your essay, and it should be supported by evidence and examples.
A well-written First Amendment essay should demonstrate your understanding of this essential constitutional provision and its impact on American life. By exploring the history and significance of the First Amendment, you can gain a deeper appreciation for the freedoms that are so vital to our democracy.
If you’re looking for First Amendment essay examples, WritingBros can help you get started. In this section you can find essays on different topics related to this broad theme, such as the history of the 1st Amendment, its impact on American politics and culture, and its relationship to other constitutional rights, as well as many others.
The Freedom Of Religion And Why Is The First Amendment Important
First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise 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...
- American Constitution
- First Amendment
Life Without The First Amendment
My, I and my family would be one of many who would be hugely impacted if our 1st amendment freedom of religion was taken away. We are one of Jehovah's Witnesses and there are currently 13,036 congregations (or places of worship) around the country. In...
First Amendment Cases: Clear And Present Danger
The First Amendment expresses that Congress will make no law regarding a foundation of religion, or forbidding the free exercise of; or compressing the ability to speak freely, of the press; or the privilege of the individuals quietly to collect, and to appeal to the...
A Case Study of the American Right to the Freedom of Speech
One of our rights in the United States is freedom of speech, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, “...prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on...
- Freedom of Speech
The Importance of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Thesis statement The first amendment is important because it does not let the government arrest you for expressing your beliefs because it is a right given by God to protect the people. Amendment I Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or...
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First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Facts About It
The First Amendment is represented and interpreted differently by the American people, the judicial branch, and state governments. What is the First Amendment? It is an amendment that gives the right to American citizens to have freedom of assembly, press, religion, and speech. This is...
- Role of Government
Protection of Free Speech As Seen in the First Amendment
The First Amendment, proposed in 1789 by declared ‘Father of the Constitution’ James Madison as part of the U.S. Bill of Rights has perpetuated itself as a fundamental component in the governing and ruling of America to this day, acting as a principal reference point...
- Free Speech
Best topics on First Amendment
1. The Freedom Of Religion And Why Is The First Amendment Important
2. Life Without The First Amendment
3. First Amendment Cases: Clear And Present Danger
4. A Case Study of the American Right to the Freedom of Speech
5. The Importance of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
6. First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Facts About It
7. Protection of Free Speech As Seen in the First Amendment
- Criminal Law
- Legal cases
- Freedom of Expression
- Restorative Justice
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Essays on First Amendment
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The First Amendment: The Most Discussed Amendment in The Constitution
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The Restriction of Our First Amendment Rights Through The Use of Censorship
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The Separation of The Church and State and The Different Interpretation of The First Amendment
How political correctness is an attack on the 1st amendment, the first amendment and the ku klux klan, the vital role of first amendment for video game industry, why is the first amendment important: citizens' freedom of speech, relevant topics.
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- Censorship , First Amendment , Freedom , Freedom Of Speech , Liberty , Violence
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The 2017 Berkeley protests organized by different groups including By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) were an abject violation of the freedom of speech as outlined in the First Amendment of the American constitution. The protests successfully stopped a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial Breitbart editor and a self-declared Trump supporter. The protests turned violent and led to the destruction of the property thus posing significant harm to the society. In defending the protests, Yvette Felarca, BAMN’s spokesperson argued that “the protests successfully stopped the spread of hate by the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos.” However, I maintain that Felarca’s argument was fallacious since the protests prevented Milo from exercising his constitutional freedom of speech by denying him the chance to share his ideas however controversial besides presenting significant harm to others.
Furthermore, his audience were students from the University of Berkeley, a college who gave birth to the Free Speech Movement in the 1960’s – thus implying that he had an eager and open-minded audience that was willing to learn and listen more. Milo simply sought to engage his audience in a peaceful deliberation in which he would have shared his ideas and left without antagonizing anyone. Those who planned the protests like Felarca censored Milo forcefully thus violating his freedom of speech. John Stuart Mill, a revered philosopher gave a strong defense for freedom of speech. In his explanation, the philosopher urged that countries should give the fullest liberty for people to freely discuss any matter however immoral (Mill 54).
The protestors in Berkeley considered Milo’s ideas immoral and a threat to the peace and stability of the United States. Unbeknown to them, the protestors denied both Milo and the group of students at the university a chance to discuss some of the controversial ideas presented by Milo. In her defense, Felarca explains that they organized a “militant protest” to prevent the spread of hate. Militant protests are combative, vigorously active, and aggressive in nature. Such protests are not legal in the United States since they violate the rights and freedom of others and always lead to the destruction of property, disruption of peace, injuries and even deaths. The court later vindicated the argument by indicting several of the arrested protestors.
The use of militant protests was yet another strategic violation of the country’s laws. The United States Constitution under the first amendment permits protests. Americans are free to assemble and picket to protest any development in the country. However, the laws do not permit militant protests given their destructive nature. Militant protests are harmful to societal peace and order. In Berkeley, the protests soon turned into clashes with different sides engaging each other thus resulting in massive destruction, property, and injuries. Supporters of such protests like Felarca ended up propagating the hate and fear they accused Milo of perpetuating.
Milo did not present any harm to anyone in society. He simply needed to give his speech and initiate a discussion on various topics however controversial. Felarca and her group, on the other hand, presented real harm to other members of the society including Milo and his eager audience (Coutler 77). Moreover, the group of protestors used violence to prevent the speech – such as the torched buildings and multiple attacked people. Such actions justify the invocation of the harm principle as outlined by Mills. The police intervened and arrested the protestors thus demonstrating the use of force against the will of the individuals since they had violated their liberty and used the liberty to harm other members of the society.
Summarily, Felarca’s arguments in defense of the Berkeley riots are clearly based on false premises. As a free society, the United States should permit people to talk freely on any topic including those considered immoral by the likes of Felarca. Dialogue enables people to reason together and convince each other. Truth has intrinsic value and so when an authority or the public censors an opinion, others are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth or they lose the opportunity to grow and listen to another perspective. Free discussion is thus required to cultivate justified beliefs. Using militants simply causes harm to others and is a clear abuse of the liberties set out by the constitution. In such cases, the government must intervene to protect innocent victims of the inherent violence and to help restore law and order in society.
- Amar, Vikram. The First Amendment, Freedom of Speech: Its Constitutional History and the Contemporary Debate. Amherst, N.Y: Prometheus Books, 2009. Print.
- Bray, Mark. Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2017. Print.
- Bray, Mark. Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.
- Coutler, Ann. Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2015. Print.
- Curtis, Michael K. Free Speech, ‘the People’s Darling Privilege’: Struggles for Freedom of Expression in American History. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press, 2000. Print.
- Mill, John. On liberty. New York: Longman, 1864. Print.
- O’Rourke, K. C. John Stuart Mill and Freedom of Expression: The Genesis of a Theory. New York: Routledge, 2003. Print.
- Warburton, Nigel. Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
- Yiannopoulos, Milo. Dangerous. Boca Raton: Dangerous books, 2017. Print.
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Freedom, independence, and liberty are the core values of modern people. In the overwhelming majority of instances, people are ready to do everything possible to fight for their rights. Consequently, it is not complicated to find a coherent First Amendment essay online, which will reveal the key information about the law and its specification.
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How to Write a Perfect Paper About First Amendment: Key Steps to Success
Academic writing has always been one of the most daunting assignments for most college students. The undertaking can seem even more challenging when you have to choose from essay topics related to the First Amendment. Such a paper should be consistent, coherent, and well-structured, containing deep and profound research, relevant facts, and statistics.
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First Amendment Essay Topics to Consider
Browsing the website, you will come across a huge database of well-structured and influential examples of the First Amendment essays. Most of them were written by professional writers, so they contain valid information and deal with the most prominent questions. However, the thing you have never paid attention to is the topic of the works.
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Consequently, it is possible to conclude that the topic of the essay is halfway to its success. If you have little to no idea how to choose an appealing and influential theme, here are numerous examples for you. Get inspired by the works of qualified writers and come up with the most impressive theme for your work:
- Human Rights and the US Policies
- The Constitution and the Amendments: Features and Specifications to Mind
- Constitutional Amendments and Their Influence on Human Rights
- First Amendment and the Freedom of Religious Views
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Essay Structure That May Influence the Quality of the Project
If you have selected the best topic, you may proceed to the paper writing process. However, it is inevitable to remember that a perfect outline is your way to success. If you divide your text into meaningful parts and follow the example of the 1st Amendment essay, you get an opportunity to come up with the most interesting and appealing paper ever.
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Grammar, Style, and Punctuation Mistakes Affecting the Work
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