The first ammendment, and a book to go with it


Vikasini Mahalingam writes, On a cold December night…

On a cold December night, 1791, several men gathered to ratify one of the most important amendments to the United States constitution. This happened to be the very first amendment, stating that every citizen of the U.S. had the right to speak freely, had the right to have any faith they pleased, to protest against anyone as they wanted, and for the press to have complete freedom on what they wrote. James Madison, the primary author of the amendment saw a country much different than the way that we see it now. That would be one explanation for why our government continually violates this promise. I read the book nothing but the truth by Avi, which discusses a fictional violation of one such right. In the book, a high school teen, Philip, hums the national anthem in class as a recorded tape plays in the class, while, school policy strictly prohibits anyone from singing it, they merely ask for silence as a form of respect. However, Philip is invited to the principal’s office, only to find that he is suspended! The big question all over America is did he do anything wrong? In my opinion, Philip’s rights were NOT violated, the school simply requested silence to show RESPECT, as it says in the anthem tape “please all rise and stand at respectful attention” (158), and the school had no intentions of disrespecting the American national anthem. In fact, I believe that the whole deal was Philip’s own wrong doing, if he just kept silent and did nothing, everything would be fine. In some cases people’s rights really were violated, for example the suffragettes of 1897. In the late 19 th and early 20 th century, women were very angry that they weren’t treated in the same way as men were, they were not allowed to vote. They protested against it, and got shot for doing something that the government assured them they could, protest. In a perfect society government and people would be in harmony, but how is that even possible when we cant even let each other speak, it this utopia or dystopia?


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