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First Amendment
First amendment

The First Amendment to the American Constitution reads: ‘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 peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’

The amendment (drafted by James Madison) went into effect in 1791, part of the Bill of Rights which amended the original US Constitution (ratified in 1788) by making explicit guarantees of essential freedoms. Thus the US states, founded originally by (white) settlers, including many seeking escape from religious and class oppression in Europe, took care to define the human rights of these citizens with regard to free expression.

Subsequent American laws and ...

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