4The “Bill of Rights”Added in 1791, the first 10 amendments are known as the “Bill of Rights”.They place limits on the government and guarantee our “civil liberties” as American citizens.
5“Civil Liberties”“Civil liberties” are freedoms we have to think and act without government interference or fear of unfair treatment.
6“Civil Liberties”“Civil liberties”, however, do not allow American citizens to do things like break the law.“Your rights end where someone else’s begin”…Your rights are balanced against the rights of others and the good of the community.
8“R.A.S.S.D.A.T E.P.S.”R.A.S.S.D.A.T. E.P.S is an easy way to remember the “Bill of Rights”.
9“R.A.S.S.D.A.T E.P.S.”R = Religion, Assembly, Speech, Press, PetitionA = ArmsS = Soldier QuarteringS = Search & Seizure (privacy amendment)D = Double Jeopardy, Due process, eminent Domain and you Don’t have to testify against yourself (rights of the accused)A = Attorney & fair and speedy trialT = Trial by JuryE = Excessive BailP = People’s RightsS = States Rights
11“R.A.S.P.P.”“R.A.S.P.P” is a good acronym to remember the major elements of the First Amendment.This amendment protects the 5 basic freedoms that are essential to the American way of life.
121. “R” = ReligionFreedom of Religion prohibits Congress from establishing any official or “state” religion in the U.S.It also guarantees Americans the right to worship or practice any religion they choose (or to not worship at all).
132. “A” = AssemblyFreedom of Assembly protects our right to assembly in groups for any reason as long as these assemblies are peaceful in nature.This also allows us to join whatever groups we choose to join…
143. “S” = SpeechFreedom of Speech protects our right to say what is on your mind, in public or private, without fear of punishment by the government.Face to face discussions, telephone conversations, TV, lectures, and even “unspoken expressions” are all protected.
153. “S” = SpeechFreedom of Speech also does NOT protect our citizens from committing “slander” (spoken lies) or “libel” (written lies) towards another citizen.It also does NOT allow for harmful speech towards others or that threatens our government
164. “P” = PressFreedom of the press protects our rights to publish information freely and allows us to read what others have published (without “censorship”).This freedom is also limited (as speech)
175. “P” = PetitionFreedom of petition guarantees all Americans the right to petition (a formal request) the government.This allows us to express our views to the government.