The First Amendment

Topics: First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Supreme Court of the United States / Pages: 4 (998 words) / Published: Dec 5th, 2016
"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." (Bill of Rights)

The First Amendment, along with the rest of the Bill Of Rights, was put into force on the 15th of December, 1791. The Bill of Rights declares ten Amendments that protect US citizens’ basic rights and civil liberties; one of which is the right to have freedom of speech, and gives the same to the Fourth Estate - the press and media. This Amendment also allows the people to assemble to protest, create petitions, and prohibits Congress to pass laws that establish
…show more content…
The original First Amendment focuses solely on freedom of speech in public and in media, but our understanding of this has changed - there are so many more outlets for expressing our opinions in modern times, ranging from the internet, public protests, advertising, student expression in public schools and even bumper stickers on cars. In what way has our interpretation of this right changed over 200 years? The majority of Supreme Court cases in the early 20th century were regarding the right to freedom of speech. This is due to major ongoing social upheavals at the time - “massive late 19th century immigration movements, World War I and the spread of socialism in the United States.” (First Amendment …show more content…
United States, in 1919. It involved an official of the Socialist Party, Charles Schenck, who was arrested for distributing pamphlets encouraging draftees to refuse military service during World War I. This action was a clear violation of the Espionage act, which made to “cause, or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or… [to] willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States.” (Espionage Act of 1917) illegal. With no recent cases to guide the decision, most expected “the Court to draw upon the older understandings of the First Amendment—that is, it would define free speech as protection only from prior restraint and it would defend the conviction of Schenck using the bad tendency test. These forecasts proved only half true. The Court did define free speech as primarily protection from prior restraint, but in the opinion written by Justice Holmes the Court introduced a new test for setting government restrictions on speech.” Justice Holmes and a unanimous court vote concluded that Schenck is not protected by the First Amendment in this case, because it would otherwise be unlawful under the Espionage Act. “The character of every act depends on the circumstances. ‘The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • The First Amendment
  • First Amendment
  • First Amendment
  • The First Amendment
  • First Amendment
  • The First Amendment
  • The Purpose Of The First Amendment
  • Reflections on the First Amendment
  • Reflections on the First Amendment
  • Reflections on the First Amendment