The Bill of Rights

Essay by mlp161136University, Bachelor'sA+, June 2006

download word file, 3 pages 4.0

The Bill of Rights is the essence of American freedoms, and is what makes the United States original among the other nations and governments of the world (Bradley, 2004). The first Amendment gives us several freedoms, including the freedom of speech, so in this paper I will take a closer look at the freedom of speech in the first amendment.

The Bill Of Rights

Before we go to the freedom of speech, lets take a quick look at where and when it started. In 1775 George Washington and Thomas Jefferson put in motion a change that would end up being the backbone to American freedoms (NARA, 2004). Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution, and the people of the new country were demanding a "bill of rights" that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens (U.S. House of Representatives, 2004), so the delegates gathered to do just that, and in 1787 the Articles of Confederation were revised.

Latter that year (NARA, 2004), First Congress of the United States proposed to the state legislatures 12 amendments to the Constitution (U.S. House of Representatives, 2004). However, only articles three through twelve were voted in, and became known as our Bill of Rights, which was signed by John Adams, John Beckley, Samuel A Otis, and Frederick Muhlenberg (NARA, 2004).

The First Amendment

The first amendment states "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. House of Representatives, 2004). These are strong words that most Americans have never read, but spend their lives...