September 10, 2009

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 redress of grievances."

In the beginning, the main opposition to The Constitution was it's lack of "adequate guarantees for civil liberties". In order to provide these guarantees to the people, and appease the citizens, the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights were added to The Constitution.

The First Amendment makes three main "promises" to it's citizens. People usually site these as, "Freedom of speech", "Freedom of religion", and "Freedom to peaceably assemble". These promises are those that lead people to refer to America as a "free nation".

We are free to have our own opinions-- and voice those opinions in any way we see fit; so long as,
"by their very nature, involve danger to the public peace and to the security of the state." (Edward Sanford).

We are free to practice any religion. Also, the government is not allowed to impose a national religion or church, such as the Church of England.

And finally, we are able to peaceably assemble. We are able to disagree freely with our government, and voice those disagreements by protesting or with a petition. This is HUGE-- in other countries this is unheard of!

Essentially, the First Amendment promises it's citizens a "free" nation. The citizens are free to form their own opinions on anything and everything including religion and the government. And beyond that, they are able to voice those opinions in almost any way possible.

I love this video of Henry Rollins talking about free speech. He may come off a bit strong to some, but I love his personality and the message he is sharing. I tend to be a pretty outspoken person, so to me the opinions that he voices in this video aren't over-the-top at all. However, my friend listened to it and thought he was completely crazy each their own-- the beauty of freedom of speech.

This video basically speaks for itself. This is a fairly well-known video of Penn Teller regarding the First Amendment. I felt this video was most appropriate for this amendment.