The Impact of Terrorism Enforcement on Individual Rights

The Impact of Terrorism Enforcement on Individual Rights
Christine Gontarz
Northern Virginia Community College Woodbridge Campus
December 2, 2011
Professor: George DeHarde

Table of Contents
Terrorism and the First Amendment5
Early History7
The Alien and Sedition Acts of 17987
Habeas Corpus Act of 18638
World War I History9
Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 and 19189
Schenck v. US -9
Debs v. US10
World War II History11
Alien Registration (Smith) Act of 194011
Japanese-American Internment - Executive Order 9066 of 194211
The History of Today12
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 199612
U.S.A PATRIOT Act - 200113
Works Cited17

During times of high crime, terrorism, war, and national crisis, citizens are willing to trade due process for a restriction of individual rights. At the heart of our individual rights are the first ten Amendments of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights. Although all the Amendments of the Bill of Rights were written to be of equal importance, to many Americans the most treasured is 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.” — The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Simply stated, the First Amendment guarantees us the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. By examining the history of the United States, there have been times when incidents of crime, terrorism, terrorism threats, war, and national crisis have affected the rights of the people of the United States. There have been actions and reactions to those threats by the government. Restrictions were placed on citizens by limiting their rights; specifically the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Initially, the people of the United States understood the reasoning behind these limitations; however, as time went by, many felt the need to speak out about the injustices caused by the government and the restrictions of the freedoms of the people. Although the additional amendments in the Bill of Rights are of equal importance, it is the purpose of this paper to define examples of how the government has violated a the basic rights of the First Amendment during a presence or threat of terrorism in the United States.

Terrorism and the First Amendment
Freedom, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” — The Declaration of Independence

is a God-given right provided to United States citizens. By declaring its independence from Great Britain and signing the Declaration of Independence, the Congress of the original thirteen colonies took its first steps to ensure its freedom from King George and British rule. Their goal, self-government and equal rights for the people (Fallon 14). It is because of British tyrannical rule that the United States Constitution was written. The United States Constitution outlined the rights of the government of the thirteen original colonies, but it was not until the Federalists and Anti-Federalists resolved their differences and adopted the Bill of Rights in 1791 that the people of the United States had the rights and freedoms they so desired to build this country. More than two hundred years later, on September 11, 2001, the United States was targeted by terrorists. This day is marked by atrocities beyond imagination. It is also on this day that many people of this generation say that the individual rights that our forefathers worked to provide have been changed forever. The...
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