Freedom Of Speech: The First Amendment

2097 words - 8 pages

When the Constitution of the United States was ratified it mainly addressed the structure of the government with very few liberties for the individual. However, the states demanded a bill of rights that addressed the rights of the individuals as well. As a result, the Constitution began to adapt and change by adding amendments. Today the Bill of Rights still continues to change based on the will of the people and the judgment of the U.S. Supreme Court however, the core principles that our country was founded on has remained the same. There are currently 27 amendments to the Constitution of the United States all of which address the structure of the federal government, its functions, the powers of the states, and the liberty of all citizens. Among those amendments are: the freedom to petition and assemble, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, the right of freedom of speech, and many more. The first amendment to the Bill of Rights is the right to freedom of speech and press which “protects individual expression by guaranteeing the freedom of speech. The Supreme Court has broadly interpreted “speech” to include Internet communication, art, music, clothing, and even “symbolic speech,” such as flag burning. Freedom of the press generally allows for newspapers, radio, television, and now many online sources to publish articles and express opinions representing the public dialogue without interference or constraint by the government” (Know Your Rights, 2). Today, we are in danger of losing some of our constitutional rights due to government censorship. There are special interest groups that are fighting to change our right to freely represent ourselves and our right to freedom of speech. We must protect our constitutional rights as Americans. Legal restrictions (censorship) on our first amendment rights should only be warranted where they are completely and unquestionably necessary to secure the liberties of others or to prevent infliction of actual harm. Censorship is a form of control that endangers our constitutional rights. Eleanor Roosevelt said “the destiny of human rights is in the hands of all our citizens in all our communities” (Why).
Most proponents for censorship argue that censorship of the internet, television, music, art, etc. would protect minors from being exposed to the “bad” things in the world around them however, allowing the government to place any kind of restrictions on what we see, hear, speak, or publish is a danger to our right of freedom of speech. Take the internet for example, it is a place where we have a wealth of information at our fingertips. Most of us today access the internet for many different reasons and are free to do so at our own will. It is no secret that the internet is full of undesirable material, but as parents we can control what our children have access to. There are many programs available today that parents can utilize that will allow them to restrict unwanted material. Also, many private...

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