The civil liberties of American citizens, as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, are illustrated by a series of statements regarding what government may not do. In the First Amendment, for example, there are protections of free speech, free exercise of religion, peaceable assembly and the free press, among others. These protections, along with many others in the Bill of Rights, mean that there is simply a zone of noninterference in which the government cannot legitimately act. In the end, these protections emerge from the American understanding of equality. They exist, in no small part, to ensure that all citizens can live in a state of general freedom. And the concern here is the possibility of governmental abuse of power.
- What is the role of government in creating an even playing field for, for instance, ex-felons? How do their rights compare to the rights of employers to know the employment history of those they hire?
- The First Amendment is increasingly being called into question by people on all sides of the political spectrum. The right of those with despicable views to assemble, the right of people to live out the social teachings of their religion and the very legitimacy of the press are all being challenged. How important to you are the First Amendment rights? What role do you think they play in the American consciousness? How would the country be different if they were not considered rights? As they are not in many countries?
This reading is an excerpt from Certell’s Common Sense Government eBook. Certell offers curriculum materials and eBooks free of charge for use by students and teachers. Click Here to download the Common Sense Government materials.
12 Oct. 2018, Meme created from a Sidda Kids Temper Tamer Supplement ad [Digital image]. Retrieved from <google.com>.