Do You Understand the First Amendment?
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Do You Understand the First Amendment?

September 15, 2019


Do you like being able to speak your mind freely or practice whatever religion you want? People in America take these rights for granted, but these rights only exist because of the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment states, “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 peacefully [sic] to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. America is the most free and most prosperous country in the world. But why is America different and why should we preserve these values? Let’s take a look. One: The First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion. If you are a Muslim, a Christian, an atheist, you can freely practice your beliefs in America. The founders did not believe that religion should be divorced from politics, but they prohibited the government from establishing a national church. You see, Liberty can only be kept if Americans remain a good and moral people, and the Constitution promotes the free exercise of religion and doesn’t eliminate religion. Two: Freedom of speech is one of the most important rights in our Constitution. It allows Americans to speak their opinions without fear of punishment or regulation. This means the First Amendment not only protects speech that is widely accepted; it also protects speech that isn’t popular. In fact, freedom of speech would be meaningless if it only protected speech that we all liked. Three: I’m sure you’ve heard all about fake news in the media recently, but what if that fake news was coming directly from your government? This is why we have a free and independent press. The press searches for truth and promotes virtue and unity. The press is also a check on the government and helps to advance American values. Four: the First Amendment also protects the right for people to gather peacefully. It guarantees the right for citizens to petition the government to protest or give an opinion on an issue. So all these people you see marching in the streets with picket signs for God knows what are only able to do so because of the First Amendment. America is a country where citizens can practice their faiths and speak and gather freely without government intervention These freedoms, guaranteed under the First Amendment, are critical, and we must preserve them at any cost. I’m Will Witt. Thank you guys so much for watching. If you want to see us continue to make videos on every amendment in the Bill of Rights, and answer other civics questions, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to PragerU today.

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  1. Okay imma pick this apart using the power of my AP Government and Politics class. Also research. So hold on.
    •America isn’t the most prosperous country in the world my dude. Though I can’t say for sure what it is, I’m sure Norway or Sweden beats us.
    •You can exercise your first amendment rights freely (including speech and religion) as long as it doesn’t impede on others’ right to life. Such as you can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre.
    •Founding fathers (or at least Jefferson) wanted a separation between the Church and state.
    •Freedom of Speech being one of the most important rights in our constitution is completely subjective. One person can say it’s the least important right. Another can say it’s the most. REGARDLESS, you can still be punished for what you’re saying. For example, if ABC tells XYZ they are going to kill them and their family, they can be prosecuted. You have the freedom to say what you want, but not from the consequences of saying what you said.
    •I’m pretty sure that most of the press isn’t run solely by the government. In regards to fake news, why would the government be criticizing itself? (I’m sure it’s referring to people calling like CNN or MSNBC ‘fake news’, but they aren’t run by the government. They’re run by companies.)
    •Yes the first amendment protects your right to petition and protest. Technically it’s to Petition and Assemble peacefully, though.

  2. Thoughtful and succinct, but not well articulated in one vital respect. We don't have these rights because of the first amendment; we have these rights because we're human beings. We enjoy the exercise of these rights because we live in a country where our governments are prohibited from infringing upon these rights by a functional Constitution.

  3. The Lefties don't like this video because [Content removed due to violation of YouTube's policies.]

  4. These rights do not exist because they are written down. That is among the most outrageous and dangerous assertions I have ever heard about the Bill of Rights. People live in places where their rights are respected, but are not guaranteed in writing, and people live in places where their rights are written down, but not respected. This video suggests that rights are given to people by the government. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution are a contract that tells the people and the government what their limitations and obligations are and what they may expect from each other.

    This is the worst video I have seen from PragerU.

  5. …or the right of the people to "PEACEABLY" assemble…..Not, break the law, trespass, interfere with others passage, block traffic, riot, loot, vandalize….that is not a right. It is a crime.

  6. Please define the press, because the enemies of free speech constantly say it only pertains to the press. I say it's anyone with a voice, a printing press, or an ability to talk to others, but I am told you need to go to school to be part of the press. Your thoughts?

  7. so the first amendment states all religion should be respected but trump speaks freely about wanting to get rid of all muslims, and america is still the best country in the world. right

  8. USA is 17. freest country in the world by Cato Institute human freedom index. https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/human-freedom-index-files/human-freedom-index-2018-revised.pdf

  9. Wrong. Wrong! WRONG!! The 1st Amendment gave us nothing. Free speech, and all our rights, are given by God not men. 1A merely recognizes that truth.

  10. …make no law respecting an establishment of religion…. So misunderstood. At the time of the Constitution, most states had in their state constitutions an established state religion and the states did not want the Fed gov to have a Federally established religion. They didn't want the state religion of the more populated states to be pushed on them. Look up the original state constitutions. Now a days this part of the first amendment is used to supress all religions except Secular'Humanism… which is a government recognized religion. So the first amendment has come full circle from protecting all religions to supressing all except one.

  11. You should mention how Kaitlin Bennett gets shut out of almost every single gathering of the left she attends. The left spurns freedom of speech!

  12. WoW lOoK at tHe LibERalS TrYiNg To taKE AwaY tHe FiRst ameNdmENt.

    It is completely within the constitutional right of a college to not accept a student for being a racist or “exercising freedom of speech.” Just because you can’t be arrested for hate speech doesn’t mean a private corporation is obligated to accept you regardless.

  13. Do you understand the First Amendment? There is a lot left out.

    The crucial, crucial thing that people miss almost always is that government (and it's institutions like police, public schools, IRS, etc.) cannot do these things. Once you step off of the public square and onto private property, your speech, religion, and ability to protest can be heavily regulated or completely prohibited. Additionally, the things you say in the public square can be used against you in private settings. A private company can tell you that you can't have a political poster at your desk or say certain things in the office. By choosing to work there you agree to certain restrictions; since you aren't forced to work at any given company, if you disagree, you can always leave.

    A good example were some of the Charlottesville protestors who were fired from their jobs when pictures of them participating in the white supremacist protests were seen online.

    There are other laws of course that protect you in these private settings but those protections can vary and are subject to change unlike the First Amendment.

  14. We need to put All on our States Ballot. Our Govenor wants the state all all municipal employees to be immune from state taxes.

  15. This is so hilarious because prager u does not understand the first amendment- Google censored some of their videos so they made a video complaining about it, like how can they not understand this, freedom of speech only applies to the government. This is a great example of how prager u warps facts to make you think the way they want you to.

  16. WAKE UP! The press has not been FREE OR INDEPENDENT for a VERY LONG TIME!
    See two examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNzMjhtf2fg
    http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/land-moon-1960s-technology/

  17. NO, these rights do not exist because of the 1st Amendment. (At .08). The Amendment was put into place to protect the existing rights from federal government powers, NOT to create a right.

  18. Sir, you missed it. The press DOES NOT have to search for truth. They have the freedom to report misinformation. You might not like it, but while we expect the news to be truthful- it frequently isn't. Today it's perceived as a control mechanism rather than an unbiased information service.

  19. New amendment in California "The right to shit and piss anywhere you want" and us Californians will fight and die for this right

  20. Remember this is the same amendment that guarantees a separation of church and state. Remember then when you try to get the so called 10 commandments into schools.

  21. "america is the most free and most prosperous country in the world".

    you know for a supposed educational tool, they sure do like to make easily disprovable and incredibly broad claims. Sue maybe at one point in time this was true but not in today's world

    our boy will here also claims that America is somehow different because of the first amendment despite there being countless examples of other countries with Constitutions that have articles and statements addressing freedom of expression.

    what PragerU has failed to mention is that not all speech is protected by the constitution. Any Speech that has the realistic potential to bring harm to someone's well being, be it physical or mental is explicitly stated to not be protected as it infringes on other people's rights. these include Obscenity, Fighting words (as they are likely to cause harm to others), Defamation (including libel and slander) Child pornography, perjury (undermining the rule of law), blackmail, true threats, solicitation to commit crimes etc.

  22. The Second amendment video in this series appeared in my feed. I went back to watch it but its gone. I guess You tube stikes again I suppose.

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