First Amendment: Still the most important
March 29, 2012
Filed under Opinion
The first amendment has been and still is the most important amendment in the Bill of Rights. The first amendment gives freedom of religion, speech, press, and petition which limits government and guarantees freedom. Without these fundamental rights, America would not be the “land of the free.”
Without a doubt there is significance in each and every one of the articles of the Bill of Rights and together they make a strong foundation to the American Constitution. However if we didn’t have one of the other Nine Articles, the impact on the country would not be as significant as if we didn’t have the first amendment.
The first amendment starts by saying “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Freedom of religion is an essential part of our country. It allows us to make a choice on how we teach, practice, worship, and observe religion. It is a freedom that many countries do not have, and something that U.S. citizens should not take for granted. For example, in Saudi Arabia Islam is the official religion and conversion of Muslim’s to another religion warrants the death penalty. There is extreme persecution in many countries that we, fortunately, do not have to deal with here in the United States.
The next part of the first amendment allows the freedom of speech and press. This freedom is great for the United States. I personally enjoy writing editorials for my local newspaper; however, I might not be able to do that without the freedom of speech and press. This liberty is one that citizens have to be careful with because although there is freedom of speech, there is also the freedom to criticize someone else’s speech. Those who speak are expected to take responsibility and accept the consequences that may come with what they say. They also
In addition to being able to speak freely, this amendment prevents the government from censoring newspapers, publications, and much of the internet. In a country such as China, people are blind to many thoughts because their government censors the internet and newspapers. Furthermore, freedom of speech helps the U.S. economy because there is lot of money in the newspaper, magazine, and internet industries.
Freedom of peaceable petition and protest is the final liberty addressed in the first amendment. Without this freedom, the civil rights movement may have never happened. Activists were able to protest peaceably without the government stopping them. This movement has brought the freedom African-Americans have today. However this freedom of petition only allows “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” This is how it should be, because violent protests have caused death and harm to people in both this country and all over the world.
The very last sentence in the first amendment gives freedom “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This allows people the opportunity to submit a Petition for a Redress if they have evidence that the government is abusing their constitutionally limited power. The government has a legal responsibility to answer a petition. This last part is very essential because if the federal government exceeds its authority given to them by the constitution, the people have the right to an explanation.
Without the first amendment, the United States would not have the same democracy. It limits what the government can do in a very effective way so that the people are what makes the United State’s what it is today. The first amendment truly protects the freedom of United States citizens.