The First and Second Amendment
When the Constitution was written, it was not the intent of the authors to assure human rights to its citizenry, it was written in order to set up a federal government that would allow the United States to be a self-governing entity, and to put in place a system of government that would serve the citizens of the country in the way that they saw fit. After the ratification of the Constitution in 1787, “people soon began to notice that it did not list many of the personal liberties (individual rights) that they had come to believe were theirs.”(Cullop, 1999) At the behest of some states the first ten amendments were added to the Constitution that protected the personal rights of the citizens called the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment prevents Congress from implementing an official religion, offers the free exercise of religion, and allows freedom of speech in the public and the press without fear of legal retribution for what is said. It also allows citizens to assemble peaceably to protest government or its decisions and to petition the government to change things that the people do not agree with. On the surface this amendment appears to settle some problems, but as time has gone by there have been many interpretations of the words and many arguments as to the intentions of the authors when the amendment was written. Most people agree that freedom of the press is necessary for the dissemination of accurate and reliable information whether it is good, bad or otherwise. People just basically want all of the facts. One conflict that has come from the general wording of the First Amendment is how the press will handle the confidentiality of their sources when reporting. The authenticity of what the press presents depends on the guarantee that sources can be protected. Many people would not otherwise give information for fear of implications that would arise from giving that information. The amendment...
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