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Amendment #1 Education Video: The Limits of Freedom of Speech

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

We often talk about the freedom of speech----our first amendment----but what and where are its limits?

Video creators:

Wendy Cheng, Emily Tsao, Linda Xu, Emily Ong, Brian Chen

Content creators:

Rocky Lee, Wendy Cheng, Elijah Macias

Amendment I:

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.

Imagine this, for the rest of your life you had a lock wrapped around your mouth preventing you from speaking and you were only able to talk when someone gave you a key to open it. Well, if it weren’t for the first amendment, that situation would kinda be our reality. Hi, I am Wendy from CiviKids, a nonprofit organization looking to educate the youth on important matters of our society and government. Today, we will be learning more about the first amendment. The first amendment is the right to have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. In other words, it prevents the government from forcing people to be silent or forcing them to talk. Here, consider this: I could tell you that if you keep watching until the end of the video, I’ll give you 100 dollars. Now that’s a lie, but I can *say that* because I am protected by the first amendment. Additionally, the government is required to let the public choose to follow whatever religion it is they believe in. This means that really, I could believe that I am my own god and the government wouldn’t be able to stop me… people just might judge me a little. Now, moving forward, it’s important to note that there are a few exceptions to this amendment. For example, it does not protect those who choose to speak on or believe in violent activities that could potentially harm others. Some of these “ violent activities” could include threatening others, talking down on a specific group of people, and/or blackmail. If you do one of these things and try to use the first amendment to defend yourself in court, it’d basically be like trying to use your elementary school ID like a driver’s license. But moving aside these things now, let’s look at how society is affected by this amendment. One example of a huge impact it has had on our daily lives can be seen through the use of social media. Under the first amendment, people are allowed to voice their opinions however they want on the internet. Unfortunately, this leads to people constantly being exposed to fake news and information. On the other hand, though, social media gives people a platform where their opinions can be heard without interruption from the government. To summarize, the first amendment protects the people’s voices and beliefs; however, some people take advantage of this and use it to misinform others. It is our duty as citizens of this country to make sure that we are using the liberties that the first amendment provides us with appropriately. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

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