The First Amendment Rights Of The United States Essay

The First Amendment Rights Of The United States Essay

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On July 4, 1776 The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. Eleven years later on September 17, 1787 the Constitution was signed. The Constitution was written to replace the Articles of Confederation because it did not grant enough power to the federal government. However, the Constitution limited the power of the federal government. The purpose of the Constitution is to protect but not grant the natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The First Amendment in the Constitution is very important because it protects freedom of speech, religion and the press. The First Amendment also protects the right to assemble peaceably and petition the government. In this paper I will discuss the several occasions were our 1st Amendment rights have been tested.
The four landmark cases of Schenck v. United States, Gitlow v. New York, Dennis v. United States, Brandenburg v. Ohio has increased our freedom of speech rights. The bad tendency test was used to criminalize freedom of speech before Schenck v. United States. Justice Holmes first introduced the clear and present danger test during this case. The test determined when a state could constitutionally limit an individual 's free speech rights under the First Amendment. The United States argued by Schenck distributing pamphlets that were anti the war was clear and present danger. Schenck was convicted of all charges; however, his conviction was later upheld. The same problem arose with freedom of speech in the 1925 Supreme Court case of Gitlow v. New York. The anarchy law punished advocating the overthrow of the government by force. The bad tendency test was used to determine guilt in his case. The court said “it directed an uprising at some "ind...


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...t also protects the right to assemble peaceably and petition the government. Understanding and interpreting the First Amendment has been hard throughout the decades. The cases and examples talked throughout this paper highlighted how the 1st Amendment may be interpreted differently or even ignored. However the rights set up in the 1sr Amendment are for everyone and we cannot limit them. If we limit these rights we are eliminating what the 1st Amendment and Constitution is here to protect and that is our rights. We cannot be trustful of government when it comes to limiting 1st Amendment rights because this gives the government too much power. Our founding fathers did not base our government in this way so we should not try to limit freedoms we have because we are scared of what others might do with such freedoms. The first Amendment rights are here to protect liberty.

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