The first amendment is an extremely important factor towards our age of digital media it leads the basis of what we do all over the internet and social justice movements around the world that happen in today’s culture. It allows for everyone to voice their own opinions on cases that happen around the globe as well as giving every person the ability to practice their religion without scrutiny and persecutions. It also allows us to get information from sources first hand without any bias towards one side or the other and on the other spectrum first hand experiences from victims or people in different situations, with these ideas and principles laid out by the first amendment it is very important factor in today’s society based on the technological advances. Everyone has an opinion and anyone can say anything they want with this amendment, while opinions on the internet can be considered edgy, or many forms of internet trolling. Majority is for a strict purpose of expressing one’s ideas across a platform that others can gain knowledge and experiences from.
The first amendment wasn’t something that came out of thin air one day, it came from the collective fortitude of the founding fathers, but the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights was mainly attributed to James Madison, as he proposed the idea of the 12 amendments the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of speech, religion and the press. This amendment also protects the right to protest peacefully and petition government, it was adopted in the year 1791 along with other amendments nine others to be exact, these also correspond to create the Bill of Rights this is a document protecting civil liberties.
The meaning of this amendment has been apart of major and continuing disputes that have been ongoing for years, there are a plethora of important and significant supreme court cases that have dealt with a wide variety of cases that belong to the category of citizen protests some include protesting involvement in foreign wars, publication of classified documents and flag burnings. During the summer of 1787, a vast group of politicians, including the father of the constitution James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, grouped together in Philadelphia to draft the constitution. Some major Ant federalists led by the governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry, most disagreed with the ratification of the constitution as they felt it granted the federal government too much power at the expense of the states they had control over. The Anti federalists argued that the constitution lacked protection for individuals rights.
This debate over to ratify the constitution happened within many states, they decided to in the adoption of the bill of rights to solidify the safeguard of basic civil rights under law. Fearing a loss at the hands of the Anti federalists, pro-constitution politicians, called Federalists, promised a concession to the ant federalists a Bill of Rights. James Madison drafted most of the Bill of Rights. Madison was a Virginia representative who would later become the fourth president of the United States. He created the Bill of Rights during the 1st United States Congress, which met from 1798 to 1791 – the first two years that President George Washington was in office.
The Bill of Rights, which was introduced to Congress in 1789 and adopted on December 15, 1791, includes the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment text reads: “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.” While the First Amendment protected freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition, subsequent amendments under the Bill of Rights dealt with the protection of other American values. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech. Freedom of speech gives individuals the right to express themselves without having to worry about government interference. This is single handedly the most basic component of freedom of expression.
The U.S. Supreme Court majority of the time had struggled to determine what types of speech or content is protected. While some types of speech are not protected under the First Amendment, these speeches include, speech provoking actions that would harm others – shouting “gun fire” in a crowded city street, for instance – is not protected. There are certain limits to freedom of the press, the act of creating false or defamatory statements – called libel – aren’t protected under the First Amendment. The First Amendment, in guaranteeing freedom of religion, prohibits the government from establishing a “state” religion and from favoring one religion over any other. The First Amendment protects the freedom to peacefully assemble or gather together or associate with a group of people for social, economic, political or religious purposes. It also protects the right to protest the government. The right to petition can mean signing a petition or even filing a lawsuit against the government.
With the expansive and detailed history and origin of the first amendment and bill of rights not only specifies what it up holds but what can and cannot be said in the law of the constitution it gives everyone the right to be individuals, based on what everyone can believe in, have their own opinions on what is happening in the world around them. Not to mention its continued and non harmonious ideals of freedom of speech, don’t help as in its history it was seen as something being passed that could get rid of individuals rights, even though it actually gave individuals a lot of liberties in a growing society.
The first amendment not only affected history but it also plays a major part in our current lives, have it be a specific event that attacks or tries to take away or first amendment rights. An event that has happened in our current day of age where the first amendment played an important part was during the idea of the hactivism movement and the idea that the government was trying to take away the freedom of speech on the internet, and limit our access to what companies can control what the consume can see and what they need to pay to see, putting a price on something that was offered to be free with services, known as net neutrality.
The first amendments role played a very important role, because tons of individuals from the hacking community even though they were using vigilante style tactics to get their point across, they could not and would not be silenced as they felt that passing this net neutrality law would be a violation of the first amendment. They wanted to be heard as individuals, and not as villains, since this would ruin their rights as well as everyone’s first amendment rights as individuals and their use for today’s digital age of media. When word of planned protests on Wall Street started to spread in late Summer 2011, hacktivist group Anonymous was among the first major proponents.
For a movement that was occasionally accused of disorganization, the hacker collective stood out for its unique ability to unify disparate factions, turning a NYC-centric event into a national and even international protest. In October, some members with some controversy, hit the New York Stock Exchange website, but it’s main role remained as a political sponsor, proving for the first time that it could effect change through more traditional means when necessary; that the hacktivist community could organize and mobilize just as well as disrupt and attack; and that, again, when the circumstances called for it, Anonymous could move from behind their laptops and onto the streets. This is a prime example of the government trying to take away a groups first amendment rights based on hat they do, even though it goes against what the constitution say, blocking or even limiting their freedom of expression made them feel even more threatened to the point that they would use extreme means to express themselves.
In conclusion the first amendment is a very important constitution and tool in our lives to date, as our technological age progresses and as people are actually expressing themselves more through the internet to voice their political opinions as well as their moral opinions on what happens around the world. It is a very important tool in our lives even though some people use it in a negative way, it is still something that needs to be in our everyday life.