Essay Example. Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens

Published: 2023-01-15
Essay Example. Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Constitution Social responsibility Civil rights Donald Trump
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 977 words
9 min read

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution makes up a part of the Bill of Rights and accords protection to Americans in terms of civil liberties. It prohibits the legislating of law that sought to establish a state or federal religion, limiting the free exercise of it, curtailing the freedom of speech, limiting the freedom of the press, interference with the right to peacefully assemble and prohibition of a petition for a redress of grievances by the government. (Abernathy, 97)

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In having a look at the specific rights of the citizens, freedom of religion materializes as a constitutionally recognized right in its establishment in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. It has two parts: the outlawing of a state religion and the right to practice a specified religion by the citizens. In interpreting this right, Congress is prohibited from setting up one church that is to be regarded as the official one. As such the federal government is forbidden from endorsing religious doctrines, this step seeks to eradicate the involvement of the federal government into the establishment of one national church or unilaterally involving itself in religion by according benefits to one religion at the detriment of the other. Citizens are also at liberty to freely exercise their religious practices.

In looking at the freedom of speech as the second right, this is also protected under the First Amendment, and however much this freedom is adequately protected under the Constitution, there are limits to it, it is therefore not absolute. The limitations have been developed by the United States Supreme Court, and it identified several categories that make up the excluded speech. It has gone ahead to recognize that the government may act by enacting reasonable place, and time, and how such expression can be restricted. Categories of speech that are protected include political discourse (as long as it is efficient) as stated by (Flanders, 716), speech that is commercial in nature, and expressive speech.

Freedom of the press is construed to include print media and other sources of information. This right is an attempt to prohibit the government from unnecessarily interfering with media activities such as printing and distributing information. This right to has restrictions such as copyright law and defamation law.

Freedom of peaceful assembly and petition is also protected under the First Amendment, and it entails the right to assemble and the forwarding of petitions to the government. The right to the petition can be described as the act of encouraging or showing disapproval with the government through legal ways that are not violent, it may be directed to any of the three arms of the government, and they include acts such as writing letters, instituting lawsuits and referenda. The freedom of assembly is a right guaranteed to the citizens, and it consists of the act of coming together and collectively expressing, promoting, and pursuing a common interest.

The above-mentioned rights as guaranteed in the First Amendment of the US Constitution are in such a way that they accord rights and responsibilities to Americans while at the same time ensuring that they do not enjoy these rights while infringing on the rights of others. It does this by making sure that it stroke the right balance between the powers, thereby making sure that each is equally protected under the law. For instance, the freedom of religion, the fact that each is at liberty to exercise his or her religious practices goes to show the autonomous nature of the right in that no right is violated while according the same right to a group of individuals. The state shall not impose a single religion on the citizens, and by doing this; it ensures that everyone's religion is catered for under the Constitution.

Secondly, freedom of speech is a right that is guaranteed, and it is enjoyed by each citizen in the US. However, by incorporating the concept of limitation, it ensures that the rights and responsibilities of others are not curtailed or limited thereby enabling the adequate progress of government activities such as those that take place on the floor of parliament during debates and legislative processes that may go a long way in benefiting the public at large. Also in limiting the freedom of the media, the provision of the First Amendment sought to protect and eradicate the violation of other people's rights such as the right to privacy as long as such information is not one of public interest and non-defamatory.

It is however saddening that the controversy between the President of the United States (Donald Trump) and the NFL Players presents nothing rather than a violation of the rights provided under the First Amendment of the Constitution. The NFL players feel that their right to freedom of speech has been dramatically limited as they want to speak out on important issues to them as is the norm with other athletes; the president, on the other hand, hears nothing about this as he is only interested in furthering a culture war that will politically benefit him. The effect of this was the exercise of the right to assemble by the NFL players as their grievances were not paid attention to; this was manifested in the form of protests with regard to the national anthem. Finally, there was also interference with the media coverage of the protest by the government as noted by (Jack,10 ) This goes to show the extent in which Trump's administration interfered with the freedom of the press.

Works Cited

Abernathy, Glenn. "The Right of Assembly and Association" Georgia Review 17 (1963) 97-99

Hunter, Jack. "Taking A Stand On One Knee: A Content Analysis Study of the San Francisco 49ers' National Anthem Protests" Master's Thesis 4909 (2018) https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu_theses/4909

Flanders, Charles. "Duke vs. Hamil" The Urban Lawyer 46 (2014) 715-716

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