1. What are civil liberties?
The freedoms we have to think and act
without government interference or fear of
Know Your Rights!
Can you name any of the specific rights
guaranteed by the First Amendment?
In the U.S. is it legal to burn the flag as a
means of political protest?
Can a public university censor a student
If you didn’t know the answers to the
previous questions you are not alone!
Only 17% of Americans could name all
five freedoms guaranteed in the First
Only 25% of students knew it was legal to
burn the flag in protest.
As far as censoring a student newspaper
at a public university, it is against the law.
A bill of rights is a statement of an individual
citizen’s legal privileges which may not be
taken away by a civil government. The
concept of a bill of rights comes from English
constitutional history, where a feudal contract
between a king and his subjects limited his
powers and increased the privileges of the
subjects. Amendments 2-8 of the American
Bill of Rights consist of long-standing civil
and legal rights of individual citizens
recognized both English and American
common law. Page 154 in book
Forty-Five Important Words
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.
3. What does the 1st amendment
prohibit Congress from doing
Congress cannot establish an official
religion in the United States
The Establishment Clause
4. What else does it protect
Guarantees Americans the right to
practice their faith as they wish
They may not favor one religion over
another or treat people differently because
of their personal beliefs
Students & Religion
As students, it’s important to know your religious rights in
You are free to pray alone or in groups, as long as the activity is
not disruptive and does not infringe upon the rights of others.
As long as it is not disruptive, disrespectful of the rights of other
students, and does not pressure or coerce others, you can
exercise your faith.
Schools cannot organize religious activities. This includes making
The government cannot force you to
believe in any religion. Everybody has the
right to practice the faith they believe in,
when and where they want to. Thanks for
the First Amendment, we are all
guaranteed the freedom of religion.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!!!!!!
Freedom of Speech
Free speech is the liberty to speak and
express one’s opinions. It is the right to
express ideas, information, opinions, etc.
with very limited government restrictions.
5. What types of communication
are protected under freedom of
Face to face
Free speech includes the right to criticize
public officials, politicians, religious
leaders, and public and corporate policies.
Without this right a democratic nation
could not survive.
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will
defend to the death your right to say it".
Commonly attributed to Voltaire
Freedom of the Press
6. What does press and media include?
7. How does freedom of press limit
The government cannot practice
It cannot ban printed materials or films
merely because they contain alarming or
The press is often called “the fourth
branch of government.” It helps to keep
the other three branches in check.
Without a free press, this would not be
possible, and the democratic conditions
which we are used to, and enjoy in the
United States, would not exist.
8. What rights are covered by the
freedom of assembly?
Protects our right to gather in groups for
any reason, so long as the assemblies are
They can make rules about when and where, but
cannot ban them.
We also have the right to form and join
social clubs, political parties, and labor
Life without Freedom of
People would not
be allowed to
in large groups
It would be harder
to protest opinions
and use the other
guaranteed in the
9. What does freedom of petition
allow the citizens to do?
The right to express one’s idea to the
Petition = formal document
Life Without Freedom of Petition
People could be
People would be
Harry S. Truman,
“In a free country we punish men for
crimes they commit but never for the
opinions they have.”
10. Name some of the limits to
freedom of speech.
Do not have the freedom to provoke a riot
Cannot speak or write in a way that leads
immediately to criminal activities or efforts
to overthrow the government by force
May not spread lies that harm a person’s
May not interfere with the rights of others
11. What are the two ways
someone can spread lies about
Slander = spreading spoken lies
Libel = printed lies
12. Although we have many
individual freedoms, whose rights
The rights of the community
Otherwise, the society would break apart
Rate the five
First Amendment freedoms:
religion, speech, press,
assembly, and petition
in order of importance to you
and WHY. I want to know
WHY you ranked them this