Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Why the First Amendment is Critical

Editor’s Note: The views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the other editors of this newspaper. We welcome supporting or opposing views on any published item.

By Sharon Challenger

This is in response to comments on our Facebook page about an opinion piece in Haddam-Killingworth News “Musing from a Millennial: A Label Does Not Make it So”  http://hk-now.com/musings-from-a-millennial-a-label-does-not-make-it-so/

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.”

“Freedom of speech gives Americans the right to express themselves without having to worry about government interference. It’s the most basic component of freedom of expression.” www.history.com/topics/united-states-constitution/first-amendment

Philadelphia 1787 – James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and other politicians gathered to draft a new U.S. Constitution.

The Antifederalists initially opposed the ratification because they felt it gave the federal government too much power over the states. They argued that individual rights were not protected.

To ratify the Constitution, the Federalists had to make concessions to the Antifederalists.

Fearing defeat, the Federalists drafted the Bill of Rights during the 1st United States Congress (1789-91).

Without the First Amendment, citizens would not have a right to express an opinion on any matter. There would be no debate and no creative conversation. Whether or not we agree with one another is not the issue. The issue is whether we will remain a free society. Are we free to speak out against tyranny, poverty, injustice, or any other subject? When we begin to narrow the field of topics that are allowed or not, we remove the basic rights of individuals. The First Amendment was created to protect every citizen’s rights, not simply a few.

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