Duhaime's Law Dictionary

First Amendment 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.

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