NorthernNotes

First Amendment Rights

"In a free country we punish men for the crimes they commit but never for the opinions they have."
--Harry Truman, 1950

We as citizens of the United States hear and speak often of our free speech rights. Any time a flag is burned, a book banned, or a radical allowed to publish his opinion, people rally on both sides of the issue of free speech. To what does this right, which is given to us in the First Amendment really entitle us as citizens? As journalists? As holders of an unpopular opinion? As internet users? To get a look at the text of the First Amendment, visit The United States Constitution.

Learn some basic facts about the first amendment as it works in everyday life. Check out The First Amendment Handbook. As a citizen of the United States, how does the First Amendment work for you? At The Thomas Jefferson Center, you can read about legislation of several current and past court cases that have dealt with the First Amendment.

Want to keep track of recent attacks on freedom of religion, the press, and other related issues? The award-winning First Amendment Cyber Tribune (FACT) keeps a current record of many various areas of life that are touched by the First Amendment rights debate.

Does reading about these issues make you want to get involved? If so, contact the Free Speech Policy Group. This group makes the public aware of attacks recently made on First Amendment rights and what can be done when freedom of speech is threatened. Want to be a cyber-activist? Then check out The Blue Ribbon Campaign for Online Free Speech, one of the four most linked-to sites in the world.

NorthernNotes from Northern Illinois University

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