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1 netw rks There s More Online! GRAPHIC ORGANIZER First Amendment Rights GRAPHS U.S. Adult Religious Affiliation 2008 Selected Peaceful Protests in U.S. History POLITICAL CARTOON Free Speech Lesson 1 The First Amendment ESSENTIAL QUESTION How do societies balance individual and community rights? It Matters Because The rights granted under the First Amendment are among our most basic freedoms. NGSSS covered in Guaranteeing Civil Liberties SS.7.C.2.4 Evaluate rights contained in the Bill of Rights and other amendments to the Constitution. SS.7.C.2.5 Distinguish how the Constitution safeguards and limits individual rights. SS.7.C.2.10 Examine the impact of media, individuals, and interest groups on monitoring and influencing government. LA The student will use new vocabulary that is introduced and taught directly. LA The student will use background knowledge of subject and related content areas, prereading strategies, graphic representations, and knowledge of text structure to make and confirm complex predictions of content, purpose, and organization of a reading selection. LA The student will determine the main idea or essential message in grade-level or higher texts through inferring, paraphrasing, summarizing, and identifying relevant details. Reading HELPDESK Taking Notes: Identifying SS.7.C.2.4 As you read, complete a graphic organizer like the one shown to identify the meaning of each of the five rights protected by the First Amendment. 172 The Bill of Rights Guaranteeing Civil Liberties GUIDING QUESTION Which individual rights are protected by the First Amendment? Have you ever seen people protesting a law? Have you ever wondered why police officers in a movie have to tell a suspect of his or her rights? Have you ever thought about who can vote? All these questions have to do with certain basic civil liberties we have. Civil liberties are the freedoms we have to think and to act without interference from the government or without fearing that we will be treated unfairly. They are the cornerstone of our way of life. They are called civil liberties because they are connected with being a citizen. Many of these civil liberties are protected under the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. Lesson 2 will talk about the rights covered in the Second through the Tenth Amendments. In this lesson, you will learn the importance of the First Amendment. It allows us to follow our own beliefs and express ourselves freely. The First Amendment protects five basic freedoms. These are freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government. First Amendment Right Meaning Content Vocabulary civil liberty petition free speech slander censorship libel PHOTOS: (tl) World Religions Photo Library/Alamy; (tcl) Gary McCoy/Political Cartoons.com; (tcr) AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi; (tr) Bettmann/CORBIS

2 PHOTO: World Religions Photo Library/Alamy Freedom of Religion The First Amendment protects freedom of religion in two ways. First, it says that Congress cannot establish, or set up, any religion as the official faith of the United States. Because it stops the government from establishing a state religion, this rule is called the establishment clause. In 1802 President Thomas Jefferson called this clause a wall of separation between church and state. Because of this clause, the United States does not have an official religion as Iran and Egypt do. The second way the First Amendment protects freedom of religion is in how people express their faith. Under the First Amendment, Americans have the right to practice their faith in the way that they want. The government cannot make laws that would stop them from worshipping as they choose. People in some nations do not have these rights. For instance, the People s Republic of China puts limits on some religions. Freedom of religion has long been part of United States history. Many of the people who first settled here left their homes because they did not have religious freedom. In 1649 Maryland made a law that allowed people in the colony to follow any Christian faith. In 1682 William Penn made freedom of religion a basic right for everyone in Pennsylvania. Freedom of Speech In some countries, people can be jailed for criticizing the government. They worry even when speaking in private that their words can be used against them. In the United States, the First Amendment guarantees our right of free speech. We can state our opinions, in public or in private, without fear of being punished by the government. Free speech covers what we say in meetings, conversations, speeches, and lectures. It includes words spoken in radio and television broadcasts as well. The Supreme Court has judged many cases that are connected to this freedom. Its decisions have shown that speech can mean more than just using words. Internet messages, art, music, and even clothing are protected. The First Amendment s guarantee of freedom of worship is one reason why the United States has attracted people from around the world. Here a Greek Orthodox priest conducts a church service. CRITICAL THINKING Making Connections In what way is freedom of religion rooted in U.S. history? LA civil liberty the freedom to think and act without government interference or fear of unfair legal treatment Academic Vocabulary civil of or relating to citizens free speech the right to say our opinions, in public or in private, without fear of being stopped or punished by the government for those ideas Lesson 1 173

3 This cartoon is a comment on the importance of the right to free speech. This freedom includes the right to express our views with actions as well as with words. For example, flag burning in protest is protected under the First Amendment. CRITICAL THINKING Analyzing Visuals Why does the sign say to read the Bill of Rights in case of fire? LA Reading HELPDESK Freedom of the Press PHOTO: Gary McCoy/Political Cartoons.com In 1733, publisher John Peter Zenger criticized the governor of New York in his newspaper. As a result, Zenger was arrested. Lawyer Andrew Hamilton agreed to defend Zenger at his trial. He argued that only a press that was free to criticize the government can keep that government from misusing its power. Hamilton s argument worked. Zenger was found not guilty. The case is seen as a big step in the rise of a free press in America. Because we have freedom of the press, the government cannot censor news reports. Censorship means banning printed materials or films because they have alarming or offensive ideas. The government is also blocked from another kind of censorship. It cannot prevent information from being published or broadcast. Reporters in many other countries are not protected in these ways. Their stories are reviewed by government officials, who take out parts they do not approve of. Reporters also run the risk of being arrested if they publish stories their leaders do not like. When the Bill of Rights was written, the press referred to printed materials such as books, newspapers, and magazines. Today the press includes many other media sources, such as censorship the banning of printed materials or films due to alarming or offensive ideas they contain petition a formal request for government action 174 The Bill of Rights

4 21st Century radio, television, and the Internet. Because of freedom of the press, Americans have a chance to hear a range of views on public issues. SKILLS Information Literacy Freedom of Assembly When the Framers wrote the First Amendment, the Internet did not exist. Freedom of the press first emerged for printed news. Today s instant sources of news mean citizens must quickly figure out if information is accurate. Americans can compare what we read in many sources. But in some countries, such as China, the government limits Internet access to control the news that people get. What do you think are the benefits of having open access to Internet information? What might be some risks? SS.7.C.2.10 The First Amendment protects our right to gather in groups for any reason, as long as the groups are peaceful. We can attend meetings, rallies, celebrations, and parades. The government has the power to make rules about when and where these activities are held. It cannot ban them, though. This right includes the freedom of association. That is, the First Amendment protects our right to form and join clubs, political parties, labor unions, and other groups. Freedom to Petition The First Amendment gives us the right to send petitions to the government. A petition is a formal request for the government to act. Often the word is used to mean a written statement that hundreds or thousands of people sign. Even a simple letter or from one person is a petition, though. Petition gives us the right to express ourselves to the government. Suppose you are not happy about overcrowded schools. You have the right to send a complaint to members of the school board. If enough people express similar views, the board may act. Analyzing How are Americans rights to express themselves protected by CRITICAL THINKING Drawing Conclusions What First Amendment right are the people in this photo exercising, and why is it important? SS.7.C.2.4 PHOTO: AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi the First Amendment? PROGRESS CHECK Tens of thousands of African American men and supporters gathered at the Million Man March on October 16, Its purpose was to unify African American men and encourage them to work to improve their communities and build their political power and businesses. Lesson 1 175

5 NGSSS covered in Limits on Civil Liberty SS.7.C.2.4 Evaluate rights contained in the Bill of Rights and other amendments to the Constitution. SS.7.C.2.5 Distinguish how the Constitution safeguards and limits individual rights. Academic Vocabulary restriction a limit placed on something slander spoken untruths that are harmful to someone s reputation libel written untruths that are harmful to someone s reputation Limits on Civil Liberty GUIDING QUESTION Why are limits placed on individual rights? The First Amendment gives very broad rights to all Americans. By the same token, it was never intended to allow citizens to do whatever they please. The rights of one individual must be balanced against the rights of others. Individual rights must also be balanced against the rights of the community. When there is a conflict, the rights of the community often come first. If that were not the case, society would break apart. Citizens are expected to use their civil liberties responsibly. This means that in exercising their individual rights, they should not interfere with the rights of others. For example, you are free to campaign for causes, but you may not disturb your neighbors with blaring loudspeaker broadcasts. Similar limits apply to larger groups as well. As you read earlier, the government has the power to set some limits on the right of assembly. If an organization wants to stage a parade, the government can determine when and where the parade can be held. Some restrictions, or limits, can even be placed on free speech rights. Those limits have to be reasonable, though. You have the right to criticize public officials, but you do not have the right to spread lies that will harm a person s reputation. Spreading such lies in speech is a crime called slander. It is the crime of libel if the lies are printed. Free speech is limited in other ways as well. No person, for example, has the right to speak or write in a way that directly leads to criminal acts. Also, people do not have the right to make a speech that will lead to efforts to overthrow the government by force. These kinds of speech are illegal. PROGRESS CHECK Explaining Do Americans enjoy unlimited civil liberties? Explain. LESSON 1 REVIEW Review Vocabulary 1. Why are civil liberties important to democracy? SS.7.C What is the difference between slander and libel? LA Answer the Guiding Questions 3. Identifying Name the individual rights protected by the First Amendment. SS.7.C The Bill of Rights 4. Evaluating Why is it necessary to limit individual rights? SS.7.C EXPOSITORY WRITING Write a paragraph to explain why you think the First Amendment is necessary for a democracy. LA

6 Landmark Supreme Court Cases Dred Tinker Scott v. Des vs. Moines Sandford School District Public school officials set standards of behavior that students are expected to follow. Does this arrangement leave students with any rights? Sometimes the Supreme Court must decide. SS.7.C.3.12 Analyze the significance and outcomes of landmark Supreme Court cases including, but not limited to, Marbury v. Madison, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Gideon v. Wainwright, Miranda v. Arizona, in re Gault, Tinker v. Des Moines, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, United States v. Nixon, and Bush v. Gore. Background of the Case One night in December 1965, a group of public school students, led by high school sophomores Christopher Eckhardt and John Tinker and eighth-grader Mary Beth Tinker, wore black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. As other students joined the armband protest, principals and members of the school board met the growing protest with a ban on armbands to prevent disturbing influences at school. On December 16, 1965, Christopher, John, and Mary Beth were suspended for wearing their armbands to school. Their parents protested the suspensions in federal court. They contended that the students First Amendment right of free speech had been violated. The Decision On February 24, 1969, the United States Supreme Court in a 7 2 decision declared the school suspensions unconstitutional. Justice Abe Fortas, who wrote the majority opinion, first established that the students action was akin [similar] to pure speech. Even though their protest involved no speaking, he argued, it deserved protection under the First Amendment. In the key passage of the opinion, Justice Fortas wrote: It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. Mary Beth and John Tinker Why It Matters Supporters of the young protesters saluted the Court decision that students are entitled to freedom of expression of their views. Critics who opposed the wearing of the armbands predicted harmful consequences. Justice Hugo Black dissented from the majority opinion. He suggested that the Court s decision was the beginning of a new revolutionary era of permissiveness in this country fostered by the judiciary. He argued that no one has a complete right to freedom of speech and expression. Later decisions, such as Bethel School District v. Fraser (1986) and Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988), narrowed students First Amendment rights. These rulings by their nature also expanded the authority of school officials. Analyzing the Case 1. Explaining Why did the students lawyers argue that wearing the armbands was protected by the First Amendment? 2. Inferring How did Justice Fortas s concept of pure speech extend First Amendment freespeech rights? PHOTO: Bettmann/CORBIS Lesson 1 177

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