The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

North Carolinas Senate is responsible for making the final decision to pass bills into law. House Bill 115 would aim to loosen restrictions regarding school calendar dates, but is yet to be voted on in the Senate. (Photo courtesy of Robert Jordan via Flickr images)
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What if there was no first amendment?

Guest writer Nola Fulk considers the implications of our First Amendment
Nola Fulk, Guest Writer, argues the benefits of the First Amendment. (Photo Courtesy of Nola Fulk)

Imagine sitting in English class and having a conversation about a character’s decision in a book. You start to raise your hand to give your opinion and immediately you are taken down to the office for severe punishment.  A world without the First Amendment might look like this.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects our freedoms with regard to religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. Some people believe that the First Amendment has caused harm and an obstructive impact on our country. However, the First Amendment is imperative, allowing our voices to be heard, it is the core of freedom. The First Amendment allows people to express themselves openly, set their values, and create positive change without fear of legal punishment; it is the right from which all other rights flow. The First Amendment was ratified in 1791 and was created in response to decades of ongoing religious conflict between the states. It was and still is very important in a self-governing country to have the ability to openly discuss and decide freely the best resolution for the issues at hand. 

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press give all individuals the right to communicate their ideas verbally and on paper. The right to petition gives people the freedom to oppose the government when it does not follow the law. If the First Amendment was not a part of the Constitution, the many remarkable changes that have prospered in our country would simply not have been possible.

One example from history can be seen with the Civil Rights Movement, which was such a pivotal point in America and created some of the most honorable changes. The Civil Rights Movement would not have happened nor been allowed without the First Amendment. The American Civil Liberties Union conducted a study and concluded, “The freedom to share provocative ideas and spark robust debate about political issues is essential to democracy, social justice, and progress.” The study further proved that the First Amendment is essential for America to operate and look the way it does. Without the First Amendment, America would look similar to a prison and people would be controlled similarly to puppets. This beautiful country would be filled with impotent bodies that are controlled by elected officials, something many Americans should fear. 

Some say that the First Amendment is a tool of oppression that causes immense harm and even physical violence in our society, but in reality, the First Amendment is a tool of democracy that enables freedom.

We see the First Amendment work in our society in many ways. The Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District is a great example of how this amendment protects the people. Here, the Supreme Court ruled that neither students nor teachers “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”Regardless of opinion on the matter, the First Amendment did what it was created to do and protected those students’ freedom.

There are limits to this amendment, including defamation, fraud, and threats which are prohibited under the First Amendment. These restrictions are put into practice for the safety and best interest of the people.

Some say that the First Amendment is a tool of oppression that causes immense harm and even physical violence in our society, but in reality, the First Amendment is a tool of democracy that enables freedom. We are given this amendment as a privilege, to be able to choose our own beliefs and morals, as well as appropriately express them. The First Amendment holds the true beginning of freedom in America. It is an influential factor that has determined where America stands today. 

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