Patrick Milescu
Professor McGregor
MSCH L424
05/17/15
Freedom of Expression
Constitutionally, the First Amendment protects the people\'s rights as citizens of the United States; which is vastly considered the foundation of our overall freedom. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Supreme Court has written that this liberty is "the matrix, the indispensible condition of nearly every other form of freedom" (2015). The First Amendment promises the freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, and petition in the United States; while basically encompassing the idea of freedom of expression. Without this imperative freedom, any other civil rights the people would have such as the right to vote would cease to exist. The Framers of the constitution ensured this right to be the groundwork of all freedoms included afterwards. However, even with this Amendment in place to defend the people\'s rights, the Supreme Court has still acknowledged a few limited exceptions to its protection. There are many reasons behind the significance of the First Amendment, and many reasons why it is absolutely vital but there are also a good number of reasons that freedom of speech may not be absolutely unconditional.
The Founding Fathers were very persistent towards the ratification of the First Amendment while putting together the constitution for a few different reasons, but the most important motivating factor behind the Amendment was to ensure that the federal government would not violate American\'s basic domestic rights, or in other words, their freedom of expression. Free speech and choice of religion are two freedoms included in the First Amendment that are absolutely critical to the basic individuality and identity of any human being. These liberties inherently open the door for a wide spectrum of personalities and should allow for the tolerance of freedom of expression. This cultural melting pot of diversity is what makes the United States so unique; The First Amendment warrants that these differences in the population will be respected. Along with freedom of speech promised in the constitution, the colonists who migrated to America were on the search for religious freedom. The Framers of the constitution wanted to ensure that the right to freedom of religion would be protected so that citizens could practice whatever religion they choose. Although the Founding Fathers were big advocates of religion, they did not want the state or federal government forcing religion on civilians. Therefore, the First Amendment helped to ensure the separation of church and state to further safeguard the freedom of expression needed for the United States to flourish. The roots of this liberty can be traced back to a bill that Thomas Jefferson introduced to Virginia Legislature in 1779; it guaranteed freedom of and from religion (Lipscomb 1903). After the Constitutional Convention was held in the spring of 1778, Virginia Legislatures concluded that there would be no religious test, or oath required for any federal elected office. In addition, they decided to allow Quakers and others to affirm their oaths of office and restricted the recognition of any religion as a state church. Jefferson was pleased with the constitution but did not believe it was complete, so he pushed towards passing a legislation that would guarantee all individual rights, including what he felt was the most significant, freedom of and from religion (Lipscomb 1903). In 1789, the first of the ten amendments were documented in the constitution and since have been known as the Bill of Rights (ACLU 2015). Freedom of speech and religion were crucial towards the fight for freedom of expression in the United States, but the petition for a redress of grievances came up as another part of the First Amendment that the Framers decided to include. Leading up to the Revolution, colonists were very irritated that the King of England and Parliament didn\'t take into consideration the complaints of their people. The colonists petitioned for a change in regards to taxes specifically but a few other laws as well, so the Founding Fathers created the First Amendment to give American\'s the right to speak up against the Federal Government and work towards changing legislation they don\'t agree with (Emerson 1970).
The First Amendment is the most powerful and holds the foundation for the rest of the Bill of Rights, yet it is not clear of criticism. All beneficial