First Amendment Legal Definition: The amendment to the US Constitution which sets out freedom of expression. Related Terms: Expressive Association , Freedom of Expression , Speech , Heckler's Veto , Fourth Amendment , Fifth Amendment , Sixth Amendment , Eighth Amendment , Fourteenth Amendment , Academic Freedom Part of a comprehensive ten-part amendment in 1791 to the 1787 Constitution of the United States and which provides for freedom of expression. The text of the First Amendment is: “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.” Under this caption of the Constitution, American courts have developed a strong body of cases which sets out limitations to Government action in regards to religious expression and the press. Unless otherwise noted, this page was written by Lloyd Duhaime of Duhaime.org Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only) If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Legal Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!