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Youve gotta fight for your rights! The First Amendment and You.

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Presentation on theme: "Youve gotta fight for your rights! The First Amendment and You."— Presentation transcript:

1 Youve gotta fight for your rights! The First Amendment and You

2 What is the First Amendment? Congress shall make no law respecting and 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 in a series of Amendments in the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment states:

3 Great. More boring history stuff… so why do I care? Lets break it down and find out.

4 The First Amendment guarantees your: Freedom of religion …respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

5 But what does it mean? The First Amendment prevents the American government from establishing an official religion. Citizens have the freedom to attend the church, synagogue, temple or mosque of their choice – or not attend at all. It allows us to practice our religion the way we want to.

6 Can you… Refuse to pray in school? Wear a symbol of your religion on your clothing? Gather to worship nearly any place in the United States? Worship cucumbers or the Kool Aid man?

7

8 The First Amendment guarantees your: Freedom of speech …or abridging the freedom of speech

9 But what does it mean? The First Amendment keeps the American government from making laws that might stop us from expressing rational opinions. People have the right to criticize the government and to share their opinions with others.

10 Did you catch that? We can criticize the same government that gave us our freedom of speech! And boy do we ever. Listen to this song from 1969 and tell me what the artists were protesting.

11 Some folks are born made to wave the flag, Ooh, theyre red, white and blue. And when the band plays Hail to the Chief, Ooh, they point the cannon at you, lord, It aint me, it aint me, I aint no senators son It aint me, it aint me; I aint no fortunate one, no Some folks inherit star spangled eyes, Oh, they send you down to war, lord, And when you ask them, how much should we give? Ooh, they only answer more! More! More! It aint me, it aint me, I aint no military son. It aint me, it aint me; I aint no fortunate one.

12 Can you think of any other songs that criticize our government today? What about celebrities? Do they criticize our government? How do you exercise your freedom of speech?

13 If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. – George Washington

14 The First Amendment guarantees: Freedom of the press …or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press

15 But what does it mean? Free press means we can get information from many different sources and the government cannot control what is printed. Citizens can voice their own opinions in the media through letters to the editor, flyers, web sites and now YouTube is included in this freedom, to an extent.

16 Native Americans Criticize Bushs Silence, The Washington Post Native Americans Criticize Bushs Silence, Buckley: Bush Not A True Conservative, CBS NewsBuckley: Bush Not A True Conservative Wrights Remarks Leave Obama Wounded, U.S. News and World ReportWrights Remarks Leave Obama Wounded Before the First Amendment, governments censored the news daily. Without the First Amendment, stories like this would never make the paper today.

17 Even unpopular ideas can be shared throughout the media without fear of government censorship or repercussion. However… You must remember, as with all rights, there are limits on each of these – but only when following them might harm or take away some other important rights.

18 The First Amendment guarantees: Freedom of assembly …or the right of the people peaceably to assemble…

19 But what does it mean? Citizens can come together in public and private gatherings. They can join groups for political, religious, social or recreational purposes. By organizing to accomplish a common goal, citizens can spread their ideas more effectively.

20 What if you couldnt… Assemble to play sports? Gather together for worship? Hang out in groups larger than four? Thats what assembling means, my friends. Still wondering whats really the big deal about assembling?

21 There is power in numbers

22 Then…

23 And now…

24 The First Amendment guarantees: Right to petition …and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

25 But what does it mean? Citizens can ask for changes in the government. They can do this by collecting signatures and sending them to their elected representatives. They can write, call or their elected representatives; they can support groups that lobby the government.

26 If youre thinking petition, schmetition, look at what petitions have accomplished: Statehood Womens rights Civil rights Desegregation

27 Because several voices are always louder than one, the right to petition is a valuable tool to citizens in that they can join together to speak out for issues they feel are important to them. The right to petition government is a freedom that has been firmly upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States on countless occasions, proving that it is considered an inalienable right by the U.S. Government.

28 Want to petition your representatives? Kay Bailey Hutchinson, U.S. Senator, Texas Kay Bailey Hutchinson John Cornyn, U.S. Senator, Texas John Cornyn Michael Burgess, U.S. Congressman, 26 th District of Texas Michael Burgess Kay Granger, U.S. Congresswoman, 12 th District of Texas Kay Granger Kenny Marchant, U.S. Congressman, 24 th District of Texas Kenny Marchant

29 The First Amendment guarantees the five following rights: Religion Speech Press Assembly Petition So lets review…. Which one is most important to you?

30 Protect your freedoms. Dont be Freedumb.

31 More information on how to fight freedumb can be found at: First Amendment Center, Freedom Forum, First Amendment Project, United States Constitution, Student Press Law Center,

32 How have you fought for your First Amendment rights as an American lately?


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