September 9, 2012
The First Ten Amendments
The first Ten Amendments to the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, were adopted in 1791. These amendments were added to the Constitution to protect the rights and liberties of an individual. I. Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition
As an individual, I had never before thought about what the Bill of rights meant to me. I cannot recall a time where I have had to exercise my rights. When I thought about the First Amendment, I automatically thought about the Freedom of Speech. I would say that is what most American’s think of in regards to the First Amendment. In reading this amendment, I now understand I exercised this right, and continue to exercise this right almost every day of my life. How do I use this right? This right gives me the Freedom of Religion.
My father was a minister, and was thus afforded the right to practice and teach his children what he believed, without government interference. The Freedom of Speech goes right along with the Freedom of Religion, because I am allowed to voice my opinions and beliefs without repercussion. There are many issues with the First Amendment when it comes to Freedom of Religion, with one of the major issues being the Separation of Church and State. Is our right to Freedom of Religion being taken away from us by not allowing the use of prayer in schools? If you want to say a prayer in school with other believers, is this in violation of the amendment? How is it that if for religious reasons, you choose not to immunize your children, you can then have the State Department called to your home for child neglect? Does this Amendment not give us the right to make choices for ourselves and our families? I chose this picture to represent my feelings on religion. I believe it should be my right to teach, express and voice my beliefs, without the interference of the State.
The First Amendment also guarantees the right of the press, freedom to assemble, and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. The freedom of press means our media outlets cannot be censored by our government. They do not have the power to block or Cammack 3
control the things the media puts out. The freedom to assembly allows individuals the right to gather without the fear of punishment. We have seen this right recently with the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The right to petition the government for redress means that we as citizens have the right to complain to our government without the fear of punishment. II. Right to Keep and Bear Arms
The Second Amendment to the Constitution allows people the right to own and use firearms if necessary, and tells us that this right cannot be infringed upon. I chose this photo to represent the fact that as American’s, we are allowed to own and use firearms. I am a pacifist, and I do not own a firearm, but I believe that if a person wants to own a gun, they should be allowed to. But does this amendment apply to violent criminals? Should they be allowed to own and use firearms, especially if they have committed a violent act using a weapon? Convicted felons cannot legally own a firearm, but that does not stop many from owning them. Cammack 4
is their right being taken away from them because they have committed a crime? According to Fagin, “The preservation of citizens’ individual rights must be balanced against the necessity to enforce laws and maintain social order.”(Fagin, 2012) This tells me that Due Process plays a part in criminals not being afforded this right. If a criminal has been found guilty and received due process, their rights can then be stripped from them. While I do believe in the right of every person to own a gun, I do not believe a convicted criminal should be afforded this right. III. Conditions for Quarters Soldiers
The Third Amendment of the...