Freedom of Speech-The First Amendment


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The First Amendment dealing with Freedom of Speech

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Freedom of Speech-The First Amendment

  1. 1. Freedom of Speech in the First Amendment Jordan Herrell
  2. 2. Amendments In our constitution, the amendment process (adding to or changing the constitution in some way) was put in place to provide a way of incorporating our society’s changing social views and perceptions of rights into our constitution. It provides a way to keep our laws current and working without having to completely rewrite our constitution and go through the whole ratification process again. Those changes or additions that we make to our constitution are called “amendments.”
  3. 3. The Bill of Rights The First Amendment was ratified on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments). It’s basically a safety net for our freedoms.  The Bill of Rights was created by the people to ensure that certain basic freedoms were written in the constitution so that they could not be taken away by the government- to keep the government from turning into a tyranny  The Bill of Rights was deemed as necessary and supported by the population that was afraid of an overpowering central government  although it was deemed as "unnecessary" by others, lawmakers promised that the Bill of Rights would be added right after the constitution was ratified in order to get the necessary remaining votes from the states (9 out of 13) to ratify the constitution
  4. 4. The First Amendment says,
  5. 5. Main Ideas The first amendment protects certain rights by insuring that congress will not take away:  FREEDOM OF RELIGION speech  press  assembly  and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. ***Can be remembered by using the acronym: R.A.P.P.S. Religion, Association, Press, Petition, Speech
  6. 6. Intent for Freedom of Speech Some possible reasons that the founding fathers wanted to put freedom of speech in the bill of rights are:  Possible future prevention of a dictatorship where the people have no say in the government  During a trial, the accused could defend themselves if they were accused falsely (when the judge saw fit)  To let people have a freedom to express our feelings about many things such as products and services, events in our world, and actions by others, etc.
  7. 7. Objections to Freedom of Speech Some reasons that people might have felt that Freedom of Speech should not be added to the bill of Rights are:  It might compel people to be more violent with their words or symbolic actions which might cause others to react in very violent ways  It might make people believe that any speeches endorsing violent protests or marches are protected by law  People might take advantage of different interpretations of it and twist those interpretations of it to make a truly illegal form of speech or symbolic action seem legal
  8. 8. “Freedom of Speech” In this case, “speech” is identified as any spoken words or symbolic actions that are approved by congress and that do not interfere with any other rights, laws, or amendments Example: commercial speech-we may advertise commercial products and services (it must not be misleading or false, if it is, it is not protected by the first amendment)
  9. 9. It allows individuals to… ► speak without interference or constraint from the government ► defend themselves during a trial (when the judge allows it) ► not speak (as in not saluting the flag) ► contribute money to any campaigns and/or organizations of their choice (usually political) ► engage in symbolic speech (an example: burning a flag in protest) ► Wear black armbands to school to protest a war (“students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate [in many cases.]”-Justice Abe Fortas) ► however, the level of protection that the speech receives depends on the context that it's in…
  10. 10. However…  It does not allow the government to restrict any speech before it has taken place - unless the speech is obscene (examples: news, television, broadcasts etc.)
  11. 11. Controversy:
  12. 12. Also…  It does not allow individuals to:  make harm come to any other individuals by speaking (which includes slander)  Under oath, during a trial make false statements and accusations  advocate any illegal movements or actions such as calling for a violent overthrow of the government or endangering the nation’s safety by releasing military secrets etc.  burn draft cards as an anti-war protest
  13. 13. Schools in schools:  print articles in the school newspaper without the school's consent  make an obscene speech at an event at the school or a schoolsponsored event  advocate illegal drug use at the school or an event sponsored by the school
  14. 14. Court cases: There are many court cases surrounding this issue, here are a few.  Tinker v. Des Moines-1969 case between Des Moines, Iowa thought that a couple of students who wanted to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam war was too distracting and suspended them until they stopped wearing the armbands – it was brought to the supreme court, and the armbands were voted constitutional in a 7/2 vote
  15. 15. West Virginia board of edu. v. Barnette ► 1943 case where the West Virginia Board of Education wanted the flag salute to be part of the program of activities in all of the public schools and the court ruled that it was “compulsory unification of opinion” and declared it unconstitutional in a 6/3 vote
  16. 16. Texas v. Johnson  1984 Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag protesting the Reagan administration and was convicted under a Texas law against flag desecration to 1 year in jail and a $2,000 fine. It was brought to the supreme court and they ruled that it was protected under means of expressive conduct of a political nature and declared that Johnson’s actions were constitutional in a 5/4 vote.
  17. 17. The First Amendment We exercise our rights expressed in the first amendment-specifically our freedom of speech by being able to:  express our personal views on many subjects including politics  demonstrate our views through peaceful symbolic speech  openly criticize the government and spread ideas that the government may not agree with  donate or give our approval to certain organizations or movements as long as they are lawful  show our views at our school on certain things as long as it does not interfere with the learning environment
  18. 18. Sources:  "First Amendment". Legal Information Institute-Cornell Law Web. 19 Oct 2013 <>  “Bill of Rights Transcript”. Charters of Freedom web. 19 Oct 2013 < >  “Bill of Rights Ratification Process”. This Day in History web. 19 Oct 2013 <>  “Founders’ Intent for First Amendment”. Free Republic Focus News web. 19 Oct 2013 <>           “What does Free Speech Mean”. US web. 19 Oct 2013 <> “West Virginia Board of ed. v. Barnette”. Oyez web. 19 Oct 2013 < > “Des Moines v. Tinker”. Oyez web. 19 Oct 2013 <> “Texas v. Johnson”. Oyez web. 19 Oct 2013 < “United States Government”. United States Government Democracy in Action book. 19 Oct 2013 “Quizzes and surveys”. SurveyGizmo web. 20 Oct 2013 <> “this Presentation”. SlideShare web. 20 Oct 2013 <> “The First Amendment Song-Jessica Frech”. YouTube web. “quill+parchment paper pic”. Google Images web. <> “Bill of rights pic”. Google images web. <>