The First Amendment Essay

856 WordsFeb 28, 20124 Pages
“The First Amendment does not cover burping.[1]” The first amendment states: “The right to petition the government for a redress of grievances guarantees people the right to ask the government to provide relief for a wrong through the courts (litigation) or other governmental action. It works with the right of assembly by allowing people to join together and seek change from the government.[2]” So what exactly does this mean? It guarantees freedoms of religion, speech, writing and publishing, peaceful assembly, and the freedom to petition the Government. It also requires that a wall of separation be maintained between church and state. In 1778, at Constitutional Convention the writers resolved three main religious controversies. But while trying to resolve the three controversies there was still no specific guarantee of religious freedom. Thomas Jefferson felt that the Constitution was incomplete so he pushed for legislation that would guarantee individual rights, including what he felt was the main freedom: freedom of and from religion.[3] The First Amendment went into effect on Dec. 15, 1791, along with the other amendments in the Bill of Rights. Originally, the First Amendment applied only to the federal government, so the everyday people were not affected. Most people believe in the right to free speech, but debate whether it should cover flag-burning, hard-core rap and heavy-metal lyrics, tobacco advertising, hate speech, pornography, nude dancing, solicitation and various forms of symbolic speech.[4] Many would agree to limiting some forms of free expression, as seen in the First Amendment Center's State of the First Amendment surveys.[5] Courts wrestle daily with First Amendment controversies and constitutional clashes, as evidenced by the free-press vs. fair-trial debate and the dilemma of First Amendment liberty principles vs. the equality values of the

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