The United States Constitution Essay

The United States Constitution is a document establishing America’s government, fundamental laws, and our fundamental rights as citizens. This single document protects the person and the country as a whole. Before the Constitution, there was the Articles of Confederation; however, the Articles of Confederation did not protect citizens rights how the Constitution does. The First Amendment is the most important in the Constitution. Granted, all of the Amendments are important, but the first one helps create a more open-minded country and protects citizens freedom of speech, press, petition, religion and assemble. The First Amendment ensures the peoples’ rights to express their opinions freely, publish anything about the world, and practice any religion freely, without being punished.

Everyone has opinions. Some things may only take five minutes to discuss, and some may take years and years before the discussion is over. Freedom of speech allows people to express their viewpoint in a safe environment and expose others to a variety of opinions, thus leading to more open-minded people and more civilized society. The First Amendment makes it possible for people to say their views freely without consequence unless it ‘constitutes a clear and present danger’ (Kahn, 2002, para. 21). Opinions are thought-provoking. Hearing a belief that someone might not have thought of, or a topic that they wouldn’t have thought about gets people thinking. When people think about how someone else might think, then they are open to a whole new world of possible outcomes. If somebody understood someone else’s viewpoint, then he or she can discuss the topic in a civilized manner. Discussing controversial issues or other peoples opinions lead to being an open-minded person, someone who understands both sides of an idea. Open-minded people point to an open-minded country.

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Aside from just being able to say what they want, people can also publish what they wish to reach a broader audience. Freedom of the press protects the media’s right to publish fact for citizens to view. If people can read about the world, both the good and the bad, they might feel inclined to change it for the better. Mass media can write about real-world problems without the government stopping them, meaning that they can get complete fact and truth out to the people who would not know what is happening in the world otherwise. Learning more about the world and the people in it leads to tolerance and acceptance for people and societies that live differently than others. Learning about other countries and people and being accepting of them helps this country grow and become a place where everyone is welcome. Having access to newspapers opens up peoples eyes to the world around them. People may not be able to see everything for themselves, but because the media can publish the facts without the government interfering, they can learn more about the world in which they live.

David S. Bogen, author of Italicize: The Origins of Freedom of Speech and Press wrote: ‘the right of free speech and press contains the seeds for future growth’ (Bogen, 1983, p. 459).  When people know about the world around them, they learn more about the different types of people in the world and country. Someone who spends their whole life not knowing much about the world may feel inclined to want to keep the world exactly the way it is. Someone might see change as something that isn’t needed because it doesn’t affect them directly, however, if someone knows about the troubles other citizens of the world have, he or she may want to change how things are to help everybody. Restricting what people write in newspapers and other forms of writing would cut people off from the anything they can’t see for themselves. For the country to be open-minded, the citizens have to be open-minded, and the way citizens become accepting and open-minded is if they can learn through reading about the world and how different it is.

Apart from what can be spoken and written, the First Amendment also protects religious beliefs. In many other countries they only allow their citizens to practice a specific religion, but, in America, people are free to practice whatever religion they wish. Different religions are just one of the many things that separate everybody from each other, making everybody unique. America had come an incredibly long way from when it was young. People viewed religion as something where only one can be correct, any other versions of it were seen as taboo and sin that can’t exist. Since then America has evolved to a point where the majority of the country accepts any religion. Being open-minded lead to the world growing and being open to everybody. Without the First Amendment America might have been a country where only one religion was allowed.

America was not always an open and free place, but around 242 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed and about 398 years after Pilgrims came to America, many things have been changed to create a free country. Open-mindedness helped get America to where it is now. People eventually became accepting of different religions, other peoples opinions, and the freedom to publish anything for the world to see. If people had stayed close-minded and wanted to keep America how it was when the country was young, then this would be a country of a government that overrules anything and everything that happens in the country. James Madison, a primary author of the Constitution, wrote that document to protect the rights of the people, and instead of keeping it how it originally was he and others altered it to eventually create a country where every man, woman, and child would have the same opportunity and be free. The First Amendment protects people’s freedom of speech, press, petition, religion, and to assemble. It made it possible for America to become a free country, and it will continue to make it possible for America to grow into an even better place in the future.

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