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The First Amendment


The First Amendment Created by: Miss Priester What are they? The Parts History Heroes Did You Know? Activities Resources What are they? Establishing the Bill of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The First Amendment

The First Amendment
  • Created by Miss Priester

What are they?
The Parts
Did You Know?
What are they?
Where did the first amendment come from? Why were
they created? Our founding fathers felt that as
Americans we should be able to have certain
rights and freedoms. They worked to create these
10 amendments found in the Bill of Rights to stop
citizens from being religiously persecuted,
protesters from being silenced, the press from
being criticized by the government, and many
others freedoms that we enjoy today.
Click the links below to understand more.
Are the Bill of Rights Necessary?
Read First Principles Article
Watch video
Establishing the Bill of Rights
Click the video to begin. Click the video again
to pause.
Are the Bill of Rights Necessary?
Are the Bill of Rights Necessary?
As America won its fight for freedom, several
important people in our history decided that a
new form of government needed to be created. One
of the ideas they came up with was the U.S.
Constitution. This document was set up to be a
system of checks and balances that included a
strong executive branch, a representative
legislature and a federal judiciary. The Bill of
Rights was introduced to the U.S. Constitution
in 1789. It was felt by many of the
delegates such as James Madison and George
Mason, that the Bill of Rights would help
defend the rights of U.S.
citizens and keep the federal government
from interfering in their business.
Because the
Constitution specified what the government
could do, but did not
say what it could
not do, the Bill of Rights
was created.
History of the First Amendment
  • The First Amendment was approved by Congress
    during its first session in 1789
  • It was created in response to concerns that the
    Constitution did not sufficiently protect
    individual liberties.
  • It became part of the Constitution in 1791 along
    with the nine other amendments.
  • The First Amendment was intended to restrain
    only federal power.
  • The 1925 U.S. Supreme Court decision Gitlow v.
    New York, decided that state
    governments, as well as the federal government,
    are prohibited from restricting
    free expression under the Constitution.

Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
George Mason
The Parts
James Madison
Drafting the Bill of Rights were, in Madisons
words, extremely difficult and fatiguing.
Members of the Continental Congress challenged
each other to duels at different points during
debates. Having been chosen to represent
Virginia in the Continental Congress and
although the youngest delegate, he played a major
role in the decisions of that body. Madison
believed strongly in the Constitution and argued
with other Virginians, Patrick Henry, George
Mason, and Richard Henry Lee about its benefits.
He, along with Alexander Hamilton and
John Jay, created a series of essays that came to
be known as The Federalist Papers
that talked about political theories
that backed up the Constitution. However,
Madison also felt that the
Constitution needed a Bill of Rights too, so
helped to write them in
Thomas Jefferson
George Mason
"A pure democracy is a society consisting of a
small number of citizens, who assemble and
administer the government in person. James
The Parts
George Mason
George Mason was one of the three delegates from
Virginia who felt that the rights of citizens
needed to be protected. He would cutoff his
right hand, he said, before he would sign a
constitution that did not include a Bill of
Rights. Becoming frustrated, he left the
Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and
being bitterly disappointed, became one of the
Constitution's most vocal opponents. Mason was
one of the richest planters in Virginia and was a
justice in the Fairfax County Court system. In
1759 he was elected to the Virginia House of
Burgesses. Throughout his career Mason strongly
held to his belief in the rule of reason and in
the centrality of the natural rights of man.
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
"The Eyes of the United States are turned upon
this Assembly and their Expectations raised to a
very anxious Degree." George Mason
The Parts
Thomas Jefferson
In 1787, Jefferson was serving as the U.S.
Ambassador to France. He and good friend James
Madison wrote letters to each other talking
about the benefits of a Bill of Rights being
added to the Constitution. Jefferson felt
especially strong about the freedoms of speech,
press, and religion, once writing that the
people are entitled to these freedoms against
every government on Earth. During his time as a
senator in the Virginia General Assembly,
Jefferson opposed the view that churches should
be supported by state taxes, but instead that
churches should be able to support
themselves. In 1779, when Jefferson served in
the Virginia House of Delegates, he
first introduced a bill on religious liberty.
Many people disagreed with him,
but together with Madison, the bill
finally passed in 1786, three years before
the first amendment
would be added to the Consititution.
George Mason
James Madison
"The most sacred of the duties of a government is
to do equal and impartial justice to all its
citizens. Thomas Jefferson
The Parts
The Three Virginians
  • It couldnt have been just a coincidence that
    these three men were Virginians or felt
    strongly about the way our government should be
    governed. Jefferson, Madison, and Mason were
    all well educated, studied law, and believed in
    the rights of man.
  • The three Virginians didnt always agree but
    with their varying backgrounds, Madisons in
    political theory, Jeffersons in religion and
    writing, and Masons in community affairs
    and leadership, helped establish and contribute
    to the freedoms we are allowed to have today.
  • The Virginia Declaration of Rights,
    written by George Mason strongly
    influenced Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the
    Declaration of Independence.
  • The Declaration of
    Independence also became
    the foundation for the Bill of Rights,
    written by
    James Madison.

Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
George Mason
The Parts
The Parts
Click on the appropriate link for more
Freedom of Speech
This is the right to freely express yourself
through all types of expression whether its by
creating photographs, paintings, writing songs,
making up dances, or dressing how you want.
As an individual you can.
Disagree with someone who has a different opinion
than you
Say things about someone that are true
Protest (without getting out of control)
Say racist and hate slogans
Say any political belief
Burn the flag
What are the limits to the freedom?
Freedom of Speech Limits
Even though the freedom of speech is there to
protect you when you want to say your opinion,
there are some things that this freedom will not
let you do.
As an individual you cant.
Threaten to blow up airplanes, schools or the
Use extremely crude language in a public form
Use disrespectful, vulgar language in schools
Create too much social chaos
Commit hate crimes
Freedom of Religion
You have two freedoms granted by the First
Amendment regarding Religion.
The Establishment Clause and The Free
Exercise Clause
  • Cant interfere with a persons
    practice of their religion
  • But, religious actions and rituals can be
  • You are protected under this clause, even
    if your religion is small and not well
  • No official religion can be established
  • Allows for the separation of church and
  • The government cannot
    give financial aid to churches

Freedom of Assembly
Once thought of as the lesser of the five
fundamental freedoms, Assembly has gotten some
major respect from the Supreme Court...
This freedom has helped Americans win the right
to vote, fight for their civil rights and protest
wars. This freedom allows you to
  • Protest
  • Parade (with a permit)
  • Parade chanting hate slogans
  • Gang members can congregate in public

Freedom of Petition
Once upon a time if you didnt like the kings
decisions you couldnt say anything... and if you
did... you would land yourself in hot water... No
really, they would boil you.
The Declaration of Independence in itself was an
example of a petition, because it was a bold
statement telling the world just why the U.S. was
rebelling against its king in England.
Heres how you are protected
  • You may sue the government for wrongs
  • You cannot be punished for exposing wrongs by
    the government
  • The courts decide the wrongs

Freedom of the Press
Do you like blogging on myspace and facebook?
Thats your right, because of this part of the
first amendment.
  • Zenger was a NYC newspaper publisher who had to
    defend himself against libel
  • charges in 1735.
  • The Trial of John Peter Zenger is seen as the
    cornerstone court case for the freedom of
    the press.
  • Because of this freedom, you can sit in your
    room and share your thoughts on your
    blog and not worry that the government will
  • come after you for what you say.

What cant you do?
The Press
Can Cannot
  • Print any political position
  • Make fun of people, especially politicians
  • Expose wrongs by the government
  • Say things you might not agree
  • Libel intentionally injuring a persons
    reputation by false facts
  • Disclose defense-security secrets
  • Detail how to make certain weapons

First Amendment Heroes
Our founding fathers thought about citizens
rights when setting up the government we would be
ruled by. However, throughout our countrys
history, citizens have come to the forefront to
continue to fight for their rights and civil
liberties. Theyve helped make the government
change laws and make the country truly stand for
the home of the brave. Can you think of any
citizens who could be considered a First
Amendment hero? Here are some things to
  • Did this person do something that was unpopular
    at the time? How did people react?
  • Did the persons views come to be shared by a
    larger number of Americans? By a majority
    of Americans?
  • Do you think that exercising his or her
    First Amendment rights caused this
    person or his or her family to change?
    In what ways?

Meet some First Amendment Heroes
Did You Know?
Know These Heroes?
Were some of these people included in your list
of First Amendment heroes? Why would they be
considered a hero? Coincidentally, each of these
people stood up for the freedoms of speech,
assembly, and petition. Would you do the
same? Take a minute to explore each persons role
in the fight for the First Amendment.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rosa Parks
Cesar Chavez
How You Can Be A First Amendment Hero
Did You Know?
Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1955, black leaders in Montgomery, Ala.,
launched a boycott of city buses because the bus
companys management and its drivers treated
black passengers harshly. Black people always had
to sit in the back of the bus and were not even
allowed to sit if white people needed their
seats. The leaders of the bus boycott picked a
young newcomer as their spokesman. Martin Luther
King Jr. was the minister of Dexter Avenue
Baptist Church. Kings leadership
sustained the Montgomery bus
boycotters through 13 months
and made King the most
influential figure of the
civil rights era.
He would lead speeches, marches, and conventions
that would lead to a major social revolution and
transform the ways social equality in America.
His home was bombed. He was attacked and even
stabbed. He spent many nights alone in jail. He
received countless death threats. However,
through him, the doctrine of nonviolence became
the civil rights movements philosophy. Over and
over, King preached the difficult message of
peaceful confrontation. Demand your rights, he
urged, but love your enemies.
Rosa Parks
Cesar Chavez
How You Can Be A First Amendment Hero
Rosa Parks
On a chilly December afternoon in Montgomery,
Alabama, a black woman named Rosa Parks boarded a
bus after a long and tiring day. She deposited a
dime in the fare box and took an empty seat
behind the painted line that marked the colored
section of the bus. At the next stop two white
men climbed on board. The bus driver turned and
called out to the seated black people at the back
of the bus, Give them your seats.      Three
black passengers rose obediently, moved
farther to the rear, and stood,
but Rosa Parks refused to budge. The driver
hailed a police car, and Rosa Parks was arrested.
Like electricity, word of Rosa Parks arrest
spread through Montgomerys black community. She
was not the first black person to defy the citys
rules on the buses. a plan and hurried it into
action. Mrs. Parks was arrested on a Friday.
Nixon proposed that all blacks boycott the citys
buses on the following Monday. The one-day
boycott was a huge success. The Montgomery
boycott was the first mass attack on the old
segregationist South.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cesar Chavez
How You Can Be A First Amendment Hero
Cesar Chavez
César Chávez was born in Arizona in 1927. His
parents were farmers and business owners. But in
1937, the family lost its farm because of a bad
business deal. By 1938, the Chávez family had
joined some 300,000 migrant workers they
traveled all over California, picking whatever
was in season. César Chávez worked part time in
the fields while he was in school. After
graduation, he began to work full time. He kept
noticing that the labor contractors and the
landowners exploited the workers. He tried
reasoning with the farm owners about
higher pay and better working
conditions. But most of his fellow workers
would not support him
for fear of losing
their jobs.
Chávez became a part-time organizer for the
Community Service Organization working to get
farm workers to register to vote. He was so
successful that he registered more than 2,000
workers in just two months. At the age of 35, he
left his own well-paid job to devote all his time
to organizing the farm workers into a union. With
a strong leader to represent them, the workers
began to demand their rights fair pay and
better working conditions. Without these rights,
no one would work in the fields. After several
years, changes in the California labor laws
began to happen making a difference
in the way migrant workers worked.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rosa Parks
How You Can Be A First Amendment Hero
How You Can Be A First Amendment Hero
You, as a student can exercise your rights in a
number of ways. Brainstorm some ideas on paper
for how you can accomplish this. Here are some
ideas to help
  • Speak out when you see injustices.
  • Be tolerant of the ideas of others allow
    others to speak their minds.
  • Use words, not violence, to fight against ideas
    and actions with which you disagree.
  • Have confidence in your ideas dont be
    afraid to express them.

Did You Know?
Did You Know?
  • One of the sayings that students like to use
    most is, Its a free country! That saying
    came from the first amendment because our
    founding fathers wanted citizens to be as
    free as possible!
  • James Madison was the only delegate to attend
    every session of the Constitutional
  • Most of the freedoms in the first amendment
    came from four other documents that had
    already been written, which include the Magna
    Carta, 1215 the Petition of Rights,
    1628 the Writ of Habeas Corpus, 1679
    and the English Bill of Rights, 1689.
  • Three delegates, Mason, Randolph,
    and Gerry, refused to
    sign the Constitution because it did
    not originally include a Bill
    of Rights.

Constitutional Convention Simulation - At this
site, you can talk with delegates at the
constitutional convention, find James Madisons
missing notes, complete a crossword puzzle on the
Constitution and much more! Bill of Rights Video
Watch this video about the history of the Bill
of Rights at the Bill of Rights
Institute Constitution Relay Game Play this
game and see how much you know about the
Constitution and the Bill of Rights First
Amendment Quiz Try this 15 question quiz from
the Illinois First Amendment Center and see how
much knowledge you know!
George Mason Biography James Madison
BiographyThomas Jefferson Center Rosa Parks
Biography Cesar Chavez Foundation Martin Luther
King, Jr. Home Page First Amendment Center The
Charters of Freedom Do You Have the Right?
Bens Guide to the US Government for Kids A
Brief History of the Bill of Rights Illinois
First Amendment Center Virginia Declaration of
Rights Peopling the American Past
Congratulations! You have successfully finished
the First Amendment Tutorial. Thanks for
learning about the First Amendment today! Do
you learn something you didnt know before? How
can you spread the news about the First Amendment?