Amendment 1
"Press"

The Bill of Rights

Amendment 1

Amendment 2

Amendment 3

Amendment 4

Amendment 5

Amendment 6

Amendment 7

Amendment 8

Amendment 9

Amendment 10

Glossary

Teacher Notes

...or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

Freedom of Speech does NOT mean that a person can say whatever they want to say. Freedom of Speech means that someone's right to say something is protected within certain limits. A person may have to suffer consequences for saying some things, but they still have the right to say them. For example, it is against the law to yell, "FIRE," in a crowded place because someone may get injured. A person has the right to say it, but they also have the consequences.

Early Printing Press
someone may not say things verbally or in print that they know aren't true. This is called slander and there are consequences for doing this.
Freedom of Speech includes non-speech also. What someone wears and how they behave is considered "freedom of expression" and is a protected right. The Supreme Court has even said that burning the American Flag is protected speech because it expresses an opinion.


The writers of The Bill of Rights did not want the government to have censorship powers over citizens, so we have the right to say what we think. Someone can even say that the government stinks and nothing will happen to you. In some countries people are killed for criticizing their government. However, there are limits on what kinds of things a person can say in public. That is why the government can limit what is on television and radio.
There are often conflicts over things that are said or printed in books, magazines, and newspapers, but just because someone doesn't like what was said doesn't mean that the person didn't have the right to say it.

US. National Archives

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