Last Updated 31 Jan 2023

The Importance of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to Our Rights as American Citizens and Civilians

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Every day in America we speak our opinions, worship whomever we choose, and write our sentiments out. What if we never had those rights? What if we got punished just by expressing our opinions or even by simply wearing a necklace with a cross on it?

"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. Congress The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is our most important right, because of the way it has shaped society.

To begin with, the First Amendment laid the foundation for the free, prosperous society that the United States is today. This Amendment ensures that as individuals in a Democratic society we have the freedom to voice our opinions, criticisms, objections and passions freely from government interference. Because of the First Amendment, we can post political signs in our yards, display bumper stickers and vanity plates on our cars, as well as speak out at city council meetings.

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As George Washington once said, "If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. This quote explains that people should be free to speak against the government. Even back in his time they knew; throughout history, the only way that freedom of speech can ever be taken away, is at the point of a gun. The only entity that can take your freedom of speech away is the government.

In addition, this Amendment is fundamental to the existence of democracy and the respect of human dignity, as it protects five basic freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government.

These civil liberties are also the cornerstone of our democracy. They ensure that each of us can develop our own beliefs, express ourselves freely, meet openly with others, and have our views on public matters heard by those who govern. For instance, the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 1969 Case. In this case three public students wore black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. They were suspended from school for refusing to remove them, and the students John Tinker, Christopher Eckhardt, and Mary Beth Tinker sued the district for violating their 1st Amendment rights.

The Supreme Court's decision was that the school did violate the students' rights. Non-disruptive, passive, symbolic speech cannot be censored just because it makes others uncomfortable. In this case the court also established the "Tinker Test", the standard that public schools must meet before legally restricting free speech or expression of students. This case has great affected students and teachers in society. It was also significant because the justices stated, "students do not abandon their civil rights at the school house door...." The school is not allowed to limit a student or teachers first amendment rights.

Student and teachers are now able to freely express their first amendment rights as long as it does not cause a disturbance to the classroom or school. If students were shouting and protesting in classrooms, the school would be able to step in because it causes other students to be distracted from their schoolwork. This case acted as a stepping stone for students and teachers to maintain their first amendment rights in the Bill of Rights that are given to every citizen. This case spread awareness of school boards limiting students' rights and hopefully affected how administrators and school boards handle different protests and situations.

To be continued, after my thorough research about countries without the rights of the first amendment, I learned that millions of people around the world don't have the rights we have.

It's so disappointing to think that somewhere a teenager my age is confined in a cage. They don't have the right to express their ideas that may change the world. Instead, they will grow in an environment where the government is superior. This is an isolated place where no one has barely any freedom to do anything. Their words are in the back of their heads, never allowed to express the words they speak. It's a place where no one will be able to hear a single breath of words or thoughts. The wind just captures their words and sends it away into space, where no one will be able to hear anything.

In brief, the First Amendment is fundamental to the existence of democracy, laid the foundation for the free, and protects the five basic freedoms. Without this Amendment how would we make it in this world? We would not have the freedom to voice our opinions, criticisms, objections and passions freely from government interference. How about posting political signs in our yards, display bumper stickers and vanity plates on our cars, as well as speak out at city council meetings? Would we be able to do that without the First Amendment? Think about these questions and how other countries don't have the opportunity to speak.

This essay was written by a fellow student. You can use it as an example when writing your own essay or use it as a source, but you need cite it.

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The Importance of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to Our Rights as American Citizens and Civilians. (2023, Jan 18). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/the-importance-of-the-first-amendment-to-the-united-states-constitution-to-our-rights-as-american-citizens-and-civilians/

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