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First Amendment to the Constitution

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of a group of ten additions to the original document that provided a framework for law within the country. The ten amendments make up the U.S. Bill of Rights, which codifies personal rights and freedoms and limits on government powers, among other things.

The First Amendment includes:

Freedom of expression, the right of individuals and organizations to exchange information and opinions without fear of repercussion. That right is often referred to as freedom of speech but is broader, including seeking and receiving information as well as imparting it.

Freedom of assembly or association, the right of citizens to gather peaceably, is most commonly spoken of in relation to the right to non-violent protest and forming associations.

Freedom of the press, which forbids government interference in the media’s presentation of information, barring special circumstances such as protection for whistleblowers or journalists.

Freedom of religion, which establishes the right of citizens to follow their religious practices.

The right to petition the government for “redress of grievances.”

This was last updated in September 2018

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