Attorney Kimberly Beck
The First Amendment says, “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.”
Ah, the First Amendment to the Constitution and the beginning of the Bill of Rights.
- The anti-federalists (the ones who didn’t want America to just be one country) were the ones who pushed for the Bill of Rights. That’s right. People like Alexander Hamilton who advocated making the US just one country instead of 13 individual countries, were not the major proponents of the Bill of Rights.
- Hamilton said “the constitution is itself in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose, A BILL OF RIGHTS. The several bills of rights, in Great-Britain, form its constitution, and conversely the constitution of each state is its bill of rights. And the proposed constitution, if adopted, will be the bill of rights of the union.” -Federalist No. 84
On to the First Amendment itself:
- Why was this stuff about freedom of religion such a big deal? Well, that’s because people had been persecuted for hundreds of years over religion. I mean really persecuted – imprisoned, belongings confiscated, oh, and sometimes executed mercilessly – over whether they identified as a catholic or a protestant! What?!?! Yeah, they were that cruel to people who celebrated Christianity differently. Think of the hideous things they were willing to do to Jews, Muslims, or members of any other religion!
- One important part of the First Amendment that is often forgotten involves the first five words of the amendment: “Congress shall make no law…” The First Amendment, like the entire rest of the Constitution is about what the GOVERNMENT can and cannot do. So, can I throw someone out of my house because I don’t like what they have to say? Of course! The First Amendment doesn’t guarantee you the right to say whatever you want to whomever you want. Instead, it just says the government can’t make laws restricting your freedom of speech (subject to a bunch of exceptions, of course).
Attorney Kimberly Beck
Attorney Kim Beck is the managing member of Beck Law Center, located in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has 15 years of experience as an attorney, mostly on the defense. She now represents plaintiffs in personal injury cases involving a variety of injuries caused by defecting drugs/ pharmaceuticals, medical malpractice, and other series accidents. If you would like more information about her background and experience, please review her profile page.
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