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THE FIRST AMENDMENT 1. 2 Class Activity: Quiz  Which of the specific rights guaranteed by the First Amendment can you name?  In the U.S. is it legal.

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Presentation on theme: "THE FIRST AMENDMENT 1. 2 Class Activity: Quiz  Which of the specific rights guaranteed by the First Amendment can you name?  In the U.S. is it legal."— Presentation transcript:


2 2 Class Activity: Quiz  Which of the specific rights guaranteed by the First Amendment can you name?  In the U.S. is it legal to burn the flag as a means of political protest?  Can a public university censor a student newspaper?  What does it mean to be “free”?  What does it mean to “have rights”?

3 Six Big Ideas: Constitution The Six Big Ideas are:  limited government  republicanism  checks and balances  federalism  separation of powers  popular sovereignty 3

4 4 -QUESTION: What are the five basic freedoms that are listed in the 1st Amendment? What are civil liberties?

5 5 What are civil liberties?  The freedoms we have to think and act without government interference or fear of unfair treatment

6 6 Facts  If you didn’t know the answers to the previous questions you are not alone!  Only 17% of Americans could name all five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment.  Only 25% of students knew it was legal to burn the flag in protest.  As far as censoring a student newspaper at a public university, it is against the law.

7 7 Forty-Five Important Words 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.”

8 8 Question: What five basic freedoms does the 1 st Amendment protect?

9 9

10 10 What does the 1 st amendment prohibit Congress from doing concerning religion?  Congress cannot establish an official religion in the United States  The Establishment Clause

11 11 What else does it protect concerning religion?  Guarantees Americans the right to practice their faith as they wish  Free-Exercise Clause  They may not favor one religion over another or treat people differently because of their personal beliefs

12 12 Students & Religion As students, it’s important to know your religious rights in school.  You are free to pray alone or in groups, as long as the activity is not disruptive and does not infringe upon the rights of others.  As long as it is not disruptive, disrespectful of the rights of other students, and does not pressure or coerce others, you can exercise your faith.  Schools cannot organize religious activities. This includes making students pray.

13 13 REMEMBER:  The government cannot force you to believe in any religion. Everybody has the right to practice the faith they believe in, when and where they want to. Thanks for the First Amendment, we are all guaranteed the freedom of religion.  KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!!!!!!

14 Class Activity Write a few sentences for each of the following: WHY WOULD American 1 st Amendment FREEDOM OF RELIGION be important… 1. For a very religious grandmother? 2. For a somewhat religious family? 3. For a Hindu ? 4. For an atheist? 5. For someone who changes religions? 14

15 15 Freedom of Speech  Free speech is the liberty to speak and express one’s opinions. It is the right to express ideas, information, opinions, etc. with very limited government restrictions.

16 16 What types of communications are protected under freedom of speech?  Face to face  Internet communication  Art  Music  Clothing

17 17 Think…  Free speech includes the right to criticize public officials, politicians, religious leaders, and public and corporate policies. Without this right a democratic nation could not survive.

18 18 Name some of the limits to freedom of speech.  Do not have the freedom to provoke a riot  Cannot speak or write in a way that leads immediately to criminal activities or efforts to overthrow the government by force  May not spread lies that harm a person’s reputation  May not interfere with the rights of others

19 19 11. What are the two ways someone can spread lies about someone else?  Slander = spreading spoken lies  Libel = printed lies

20 20 Meaning?  "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". Commonly attributed to VoltaireVoltaire

21 Freedom of Speech and obscenity  The display of some sexually explicit material is constitutionally protected.  So how does the concept of “pornography” square with the First Amendment? 21

22 Obscenity  The U.S. Supreme Court has struggled to establish the right balance between free- speech protection and laws enacted to curtail the spread of pornography.  The following decisions represent landmark rulings on what type of sexually explicit material is and isn’t protected: 22

23 Ginsberg V. New York  In 1968 the Supreme Court held that the government can constitutionally prohibit children from accessing certain types of sexually explicit material that it can’t constitutionally ban for adults. It also noted, per Butler v. Michigan (1957), that the government can’t “reduce the adult population…to reading only what is fit for children.” 23

24 Ginsberg V. New York  What does this mean? This case dealt with the issue of “variable obscenity” and whether a minor had a constitutional right to the same content as an adult.  The Supreme Court ruled that the government is entitled to restrict children’s access to certain kinds of sexually explicit material, even if the material isn’t obscene or illegal for adults. 24

25 Miller V. California  This 1973 case established that material can be judged obscene if, taken as a whole and judged by community standards, it appeals to the “prurient interest” in sex, depicts sexual conduct in a patently offensive manner, and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, and scientific value. 25

26 Miller V. California  What does this mean? Because a “variable tolerance” exists for explicit material, the Supreme Court left it up to communities to decide what they felt was obscene or indecent.  If material is found to be obscene in this manner, it enjoys no First Amendment protection and the government can restrict its availability to everyone. community by community. 26

27 New York V. Ferber  New York v. Ferber: This 1982 case upheld the constitutionality of a state statute that prohibited anyone from knowingly producing, promoting, directing, exhibiting, or selling any material showing a “sexual performance” by a child under the age of 16. It defined sexual performance as any performance that included “actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sado-masochistic abuse, or lewd exhibition of the genitals.” The case also established that child pornography doesn’t have to meet all of the requirements of the Miller test. 27

28 New York V. Ferber  What does this mean? As with obscenity, child pornography enjoys no First Amendment protection and the government can restrict its availability to everyone.  In the case of electronic or computer transmission, it’s a federal offense to knowingly receive child pornography…that includes naked pictures of your 16 year old girl or boyfriend! 28

29 What about music?  The first amendment is in place to keep the government from controlling the media. Amendment law does not apply to community and religious groups.  Because record companies are not federally owned, their censorship is legal and constitutional. The censorship of music only violates our constitutional rights when the government, its laws, or its agencies conduct the restraint themselves. music censorship, refers to community or corporate attempts to regulate the society according to what they deem appropriate based on their own beliefs. 29

30 Class Activity Write a PARAGRAPH explaining why FREEDOM OF SPEECH is important to a DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY, and a second paragraph explaining why freedom of speech is important TO YOU: 30

31 31 Freedom of the Press What does press and media include?  Books  Newspapers  Magazines  Radio  Television  Internet

32 32 How does freedom of press limit the government?  The government cannot practice censorship.  It cannot ban printed materials or films merely because they contain alarming or offensive ideas

33 33 The press is often called “the fourth branch of government.” It helps to keep the other three branches in check. Without a free press, this would not be possible, and the democratic conditions we enjoy in the United States, would not exist.

34 Class Activity Write a “letter to the Editor” expressing YOUR OPINION on some subject important to you. I will choose some of these (anonymously) to READ and which we can DISCUSS in class 34

35 35 What rights are covered by the freedom of assembly?  Protects our right to gather in groups for any reason, so long as the assemblies are peaceful.  They can make rules about when and where, but cannot ban them.  We also have the right to form and join social clubs, political parties, and labor unions.

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37 37 Life without Freedom of Assembly  People would not be allowed to peacefully gather in large groups without permission It would be harder to protest opinions and use the other freedoms guaranteed in the first amendment It would be harder to protest opinions and use the other freedoms guaranteed in the first amendment

38 38 9. What does freedom of petition allow the citizens to do?  The right to express one’s idea to the government.  Petition = formal document

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40 40 Life Without Freedom of Petition People could be penalized for political views and beliefs. People would be unable to communicate with their senators and congressmen

41 41 Harry S. Truman, 1950 “In a free country we punish men for crimes they commit but never for the opinions they have.”

42 42 Although we have many individual freedoms, whose rights come first?  The rights of the community / society Otherwise, the society would break apart – “My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins”

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