Freedom of speech
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  • 1. The First Amendment – Yesterday and Today
  • 2. History
    After the Revolutionary War and the Establishment of an independent government, there were:
    - No guarantees of Civil Liberties present
    • - Smaller religious groups afraid of not being represented in Congress
    • 3. - Thomas Jefferson: Letter to Danbury Baptists
  • The Text
    “Congress Shall Make No Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion, or Prohibiting the Free Exercise Thereof…”
  • 4. The Text
    “…Or Abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the Press…”
  • 5. The Text
    “…Or of the Right of the People to Peaceably Assemble, and To Petition the Government For a Redress of Grievances.”
  • 6. First Amendment Rights Today
    Religious Makeup of the United States
    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” – Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Danbury Baptists, 1802
  • 7. First Amendment Rights Today
    Freedom of Speech
    • Even those examples that espouse hate and misinformation
    Westboro Baptist Church
  • 8. First Amendment Rights Today
    Freedom of the Press
    • The Pentagon Papers
    • 9. WikiLeaks?
    Above: Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward (Center)
    Left: Julian Assange
  • 10. First Amendment Rights Today
    Right to Peaceably Assemble
    “Free Speech Zones”
  • 11. Picture Sources:
    Signing of Constitution:
    Bill of Rights:
    St. Patrick’s Cathedral:
    Press Conference:
    Pew Forum Study:
    Westboro Baptist Church:
    Woodward and Bernstein:
    Julian Assange:,_March_2010%29.jpg
    Free Speech Zone:
    Text Source:
    Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to the Danbury Baptists, 1802.