Share
Explore BrainMass

First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion.

The following is the full text of the First Amendment.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Who would have thought that such a short piece of writing could spawn so much discussion, protest, writing and debate? In this essay we will take a look at the history leading up to the writing of the First Amendment, the specifics contained in the amendment, and finally the debate and controversy that has surrounded the amendment since its inclusion into the Constitution.

The rebel colonies turned new nation of America were governed for the first twelve years of their existence by a Congress of the States. This Congress, which was formally recognized in the Articles of Confederation, provided the leadership necessary until 1787 when a new constitution was presented to the American people. Rather than be relieved that the new nation was being provided with a constitution, however, political leaders belonging to the anti-Federalist party refused to support the newly written constitution. Their reasoning being that without a guarantee of personal liberties the new government would become despotic and exercise authoritarian control over the people. This form of government would not be fundamentally different from what they had experienced under British king from whom they had recently rebelled. The sentiment of distrust toward an all-powerful central government was best voiced by Byles Mather. He was the nephew of Cotton Mather and was a loyalist clergyman in Boston. He said, "Which is better - to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?"

Solution Preview

The following is the full text of the First Amendment.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Who would have thought that such a short piece of writing could spawn so much discussion, protest, writing and debate? In this essay we will take a look at the history leading up to the writing of the First Amendment, the specifics contained in the amendment, and finally the debate and controversy that has surrounded the amendment since its inclusion into the Constitution.

The rebel colonies turned new nation of America were governed for the first twelve years of their existence by a Congress of the States. This Congress, which was formally recognized in the Articles of Confederation, provided the leadership necessary until 1787 when a new constitution was presented to the American people. Rather than be relieved that the new nation was being provided with a constitution, however, political leaders belonging to the anti-Federalist party refused to support the newly written constitution. Their reasoning being that without a guarantee of personal liberties the new government would become despotic and exercise authoritarian control over the people. This form of government would not be fundamentally different from what they had experienced under British king from whom they had recently rebelled. The sentiment of distrust toward an all-powerful central government was best voiced by Byles Mather. He was the nephew of Cotton Mather and was a loyalist clergyman in Boston. He said, "Which is better - to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?"

After much discussion and debate the new constitution was sent to the states for ratification. Opposition to the idea of a strong central government ...

Solution Summary

This is a discussion of the First Amendment. How did it come about? What important concepts make up the First Amendment? A specific focus on the freedoms of religion and speech. Over 1200 words of original text along with six websites that include much more information.

$2.19