The Constitution Essay, Research Paper
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of Religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, this Amendment is the most important part of the constitution. Without free speech, we the people of the United States would not be able to speak openly and freely about issues that affect our everyday life.
Had it not been for Katie Stanton and Susan B. Anthony exercising their first amendment right to free speech and peaceful assembly, and the press covering and catching the women s suffrage movement it is possible that women may not have gained the legal right to vote until many years later. Many amendments to the Constitution were started by people exercising their first amendment rights, by utilizing the rights to free speech, peaceful assembly and freedom of press.
When people use their first amendment rights effectively, they make people listen and when people listen, change occurs. Many of the laws we have in society today were passed in part by free speech. When people started pulling together to desegregate schools the government listened, it acted and passed laws against it. Due to people using their first amendment rights the Civil Rights Act was put into effect in 1964.
DR. Martin Luther King Jr. used free speech and the right to public assembly when he spoke from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and people listened and change was brought about by his speech. If the first amendment right was never ratified, we might be living in a nation that separates us on our race, sex or age. Through this amendment, the people have caused such enormous changes that even other nations have taken notice and adopted similar laws and policies.
There are also times when information is released to the public, which could be potentially harmful to our national security. Ultimately Freedom of the Press is an essential right. For the press, they feel the need to inform people of situations that arise, such as health care issues (probably to raise their revenue but also because if they were part of the general public, they would want to be informed). The government may not be ready to tell it s people that there is a potentially life threatening disease in populated areas, in fear that it might cause a panic. The press on the other hand, will supply its readers with the information.
With the advent of the Internet, freedom of speech has come under close investigation. Although we as Americans are allowed to speak our mind, there comes a time when we are faced with materials we find offensive and repugnant. So, the question arises; should this material be censored? That depends if it is your ideas or beliefs, if so than you are going to rely on your first amendment rights to allow your thoughts and ideas to be spread around the world in the medium you see fit. Now, on the other side if you are the person or group who finds it offensive, you will try everything in your power to keep from the material from being so readily available. Typically, the ideas that are often the target of censorship tactics include areas involving; children, explicit sex, drugs, hate crimes and violence. Censoring of these items raises legal questions. Is it legal to censor materials that are deemed offensive by the majority of people or is it a violation of your first amendment rights?
Ultimately when you think about the most important aspect of the Constitution, you always remember the first amendment, and the rights it grants you. Without these rights, our country might not have prospered as much as it has and continues to. Without the first amendment, people would not be able to make changes, which society benefits from. Everyone in the nation reaps the rewards of free speech. Whether or not they choose to exercise that right, they know in their minds, that if the need ever arises, they live in a nation that guarantees freedom of speech.