Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution addresses criminal procedure and other aspects of the Constitution. It was ratified in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights; the Fifth Amendment applies to every level of the government, including the federal and local levels, as well as any corporation, private enterprise, group, or individual, or any foreign government in regards to a US citizen or resident of the US. The Supreme Court furthered the protections of this amendment through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. One provision of the Fifth Amendment requires that felonies be tried only upon indictment by a grand jury. Another provision, the Double Jeopardy Clause, provides the right of defendants to be tried only once in federal court for the same offense; the self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant. "Pleading the Fifth" is a colloquial term used to invoke the self-incrimination clause when witnesses decline to answer questions where the answers might incriminate them.
In the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court held that the self-incrimination clause requires the police to issue a Miranda warning to criminal suspects interrogated while under police custody; the Fifth Amendment contains the Takings Clause, which allows the federal government to take private property for public use if the government provides "just compensation." Like the Fourteenth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment includes a due process clause stating that no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The Fifth Amendment's due process clause applies to the federal government, while the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause applies to state governments. The Supreme Court has interpreted the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause as providing two main protections: procedural due process, which requires government officials to follow fair procedures before depriving a person of life, liberty, or property, substantive due process, which protects certain fundamental rights from government interference.
The Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause contains a prohibition against vague laws and an implied equal protection requirement similar to the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The amendment as proposed by Congress in 1789 reads as follows: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger. On June 8, 1789, Congressman James Madison introduced several proposed constitutional amendments during a speech to the House of Representatives, his draft language that became the Fifth Amendment was as follows:No person shall be subject, except in cases of impeachment, to more than one punishment or trial for the same offense. This draft was edited by Congress. After approval by Congress, the amendment was ratified by the states on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights.
Every one of the five clauses in the final amendment appeared in Madison's draft, in their final order those clauses are the Grand Jury Clause, the Double Jeopardy Clause, the Self Incrimination Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Takings Clause. The grand jury is a pre-constitutional common law institution, a constitutional fixture in its own right embracing common law; the process applies to the states to the extent that the states have incorporated grand juries and/or common law. Most states have an alternative civil process. "Although state systems of criminal procedure differ among themselves, the grand jury is guaranteed by many state constitutions and plays an important role in fair and effective law enforcement in the overwhelming majority of the States." Branzburg v. Hayes 1972. Grand juries, which return indictments in many criminal cases, are composed of a jury of peers and operate in closed deliberation proceedings. Many constitutional restrictions that apply in court or in other situations do not apply during grand jury proceedings.
For example, the exclusionary rule does not apply to certain evidence presented to a grand jury. An individual does not have the right to have an attorney present in the grand jury room during hearings. An individual would have such a right during questioning by the police while in custody, but an individual testifying before a grand jury is free to le
Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from using age as a reason for denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States who are at least eighteen years old. It was proposed by Congress on March 23, 1971, ratified on July 1, 1971, the quickest ratification of an amendment in history. Various public officials had supported lowering the voting age during the mid-20th century, but were unable to gain the legislative momentum necessary for passing a constitutional amendment; the drive to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 grew across the country during the 1960s, driven in large part by the military draft held during the Vietnam War, as well as the student activism movement. The draft conscripted young men between the ages of 18 and 21 into the armed forces the U. S. Army, to support military combat operations in Vietnam. A common slogan of proponents of lowering the voting age was "old enough to fight, old enough to vote."
Congress lowered the national voting age to 18 in a 1970 bill that extended the Voting Rights Act, but the Supreme Court subsequently held in the case of Oregon v. Mitchell that Congress could not lower the voting age for state and local elections. Shortly after that ruling, Congress proposed and the states ratified the Twenty-sixth Amendment, which constitutionally enshrined voting rights for individuals between 18 and 21 years old. Section 1; the right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age. Section 2; the Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. Senator Harley Kilgore began advocating for a lowered voting age in 1941 in the 77th Congress. Despite the support of fellow senators and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Congress failed to pass any national change. However, public interest in lowering the vote became a topic of interest at the local level.
In 1943 and 1955 the Georgia and Kentucky legislatures passed measures to lower the voting age to 18. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his 1954 State of the Union address, became the first president to publicly support prohibiting age-based denials of suffrage for those 18 and older. During the 1960s, both Congress and the state legislatures came under increasing pressure to lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18; this was in large part due to the Vietnam War, in which many young men who were ineligible to vote were conscripted to fight in the war, thus lacking any means to influence the people sending them off to risk their lives. "Old enough to fight, old enough to vote" was a common slogan used by proponents of lowering the voting age. The slogan traced its roots to World War II, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt lowered the military draft age to eighteen. In 1963, the President's Commission on Registration and Voting Participation, in its report to President Johnson, further encouraged considering lowering the voting age.
Historian Thomas H. Neale argues that the move to lower the voting age followed a historical pattern similar to other extensions of the franchise. In 1970, Senator Ted Kennedy proposed amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to lower the voting age nationally. On June 22, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed an extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required the voting age to be 18 in all federal and local elections. In his statement on signing the extension, Nixon said: Despite my misgivings about the constitutionality of this one provision, I have signed the bill. I have directed the Attorney General to cooperate in expediting a swift court test of the constitutionality of the 18-year-old provision. Subsequently and Texas challenged the law in court, the case came before the Supreme Court in 1970 as Oregon v. Mitchell. By this time, four states had a minimum voting age below 21: Georgia, Kentucky and Hawaii. During debate of the 1970 extension of the Voting Rights Act, Senator Ted Kennedy argued that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment allowed Congress to pass national legislation lowering the voting age.
In the 1966 decision of Katzenbach v. Morgan, the Supreme Court had ruled that "if Congress acts to enforce the 14th Amendment by passing a law declaring that a type of state law discriminates against a certain class of persons, the Supreme Court will let the law stand if the justices can'perceive a basis' for Congress's actions". President Nixon disagreed with Kennedy. In a letter to the Speaker of the House and the House minority and majority leaders, he asserted that the issue is not whether the voting age should be lowered, but how. In Oregon v. Mitchell, the Supreme Court considered whether the voting-age provisions Congress added to the Voting Rights Act in 1970 were constitutional; the Court struck down the provisions that established 18 as the voting age in state and local elections. However, the Court upheld the provision establishing the voting age as 18 in federal elections; the Court was divided in this case, a majority of justices did not agree on a rationale for the holding. The decision resulted in states being able to maintain 21 as the voting age in state and local elections, but being required to establish separate voter rolls so that voters between 18 and 20 years old could vote in federal elections.
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933. During the nineteenth century, family violence, saloon-based political corruption prompted prohibitionists, led by pietistic Protestants, to end the alcoholic beverage trade to cure the ill society and weaken the political opposition. One result was that many communities in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries introduced alcohol prohibition, with the subsequent enforcement in law becoming a hotly debated issue. Prohibition supporters, called "drys", presented it as a victory for public morals and health. Promoted by the "dry" crusaders, the movement was led by pietistic Protestants and social Progressives in the Prohibition and Republican parties, it gained a national grass roots base through the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. After 1900, it was coordinated by the Anti-Saloon League. Opposition from the beer industry mobilized "wet" supporters from the Catholic and German Lutheran communities.
They had funding to fight back, but by 1917–18 the German community had been marginalized by the nation's war against Germany, the brewing industry was shut down in state after state by the legislatures and nationwide under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920. Enabling legislation, known as the Volstead Act, set down the rules for enforcing the federal ban and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited. For example, religious use of wine was allowed. Private ownership and consumption of alcohol were not made illegal under federal law, but local laws were stricter in many areas, with some states banning possession outright. Criminal gangs were able to gain control of the liquor supply for many cities. By the late-1920s a new opposition mobilized nationwide. Wets attacked prohibition as causing crime, lowering local revenues, imposing "rural" Protestant religious values on "urban" United States. Prohibition ended with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment on December 5, 1933.
Some states continued statewide prohibition. Research shows that prohibition reduced overall alcohol consumption by half during the 1920s, consumption remained below pre-Prohibition levels until the 1940s, suggesting that Prohibition did socialize a significant proportion of the population in temperate habits, at least temporarily. Rates of liver cirrhosis "fell by 50% early in Prohibition and recovered promptly after Repeal in 1933." Criticism remains that Prohibition led to unintended consequences such as a century of Prohibition-influenced legislation and the growth of urban crime organizations, though some scholars have argued that violent crime did not increase while others have argued that crime during the Prohibition era was properly attributed to increased urbanization, rather than the criminalization of alcohol use. As an experiment it lost supporters every year, lost tax revenue that governments needed when the Great Depression began in 1929. In the United States, once the battle against slavery was won, social moralists turned to other issues, such as Mormon polygamy and the temperance movement.
On November 18, 1918, prior to ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment, the U. S. Congress passed the temporary Wartime Prohibition Act, which banned the sale of alcoholic beverages having an alcohol content of greater than 1.28%. The Wartime Prohibition Act took effect June 30, 1919, with July 1, 1919 becoming known as the "Thirsty-First"; the U. S. Senate proposed the Eighteenth Amendment on December 18, 1917. Upon being approved by a 36th state on January 16, 1919, the amendment was ratified as a part of the Constitution. By the terms of the amendment, the country went dry one year on January 17, 1920. On October 28, 1919, Congress passed the Volstead Act, the popular name for the National Prohibition Act, over President Woodrow Wilson's veto; the act established the legal definition of intoxicating liquors as well as penalties for producing them. Although the Volstead Act prohibited the sale of alcohol, the federal government lacked resources to enforce it. Prohibition was successful in reducing the amount of liquor consumed, cirrhosis death rates, admissions to state mental hospitals for alcoholic psychosis, arrests for public drunkenness, rates of absenteeism.
While some allege that Prohibition stimulated the proliferation of rampant underground and widespread criminal activity, many academics maintain that there was no increase in crime during the Prohibition era and that such claims are "rooted in the impressionistic rather than the factual." By 1925, there were anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 speakeasy clubs in New York City alone. Wet opposition talked of personal liberty, new tax revenues from legal beer and liquor, the scourge of organized crime. On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Cullen–Harrison Act, legalizing beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% and wine of a low alcohol content. On December 5, 1933, ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment. However, United States federal law still prohibits the manufacture of distilled spirits without meeting numerous licensing requirements that make it impractical to produce spirits for personal beverage use. Consumption of alcoholic beverages has been a contentious topic in America since the colonial period.
In May 1657, the General Court of Massachusetts made the sale of strong li
Third Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Third Amendment to the United States Constitution places restrictions on the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent, forbidding the practice in peacetime. The amendment is a response to Quartering Acts passed by the British parliament during the buildup to the American Revolutionary War, which had allowed the British Army to lodge soldiers in private residences; the Third Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1789 by James Madison as a part of the United States Bill of Rights, in response to Anti-Federalist objections to the new Constitution. Congress proposed the amendment to the states on September 28, 1789, by December 15, 1791, the necessary three-quarters of the states had ratified it. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson announced the adoption of the amendment on March 1, 1792; the amendment is one of the least controversial of the Constitution and is litigated, with the American Bar Association calling it the "runt piglet" of the U. S. Constitution. To date, it has never been the primary basis of a Supreme Court decision, though it was the basis of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit case Engblom v. Carey.
The amendment as proposed by Congress in 1789 reads as follows: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. In 1765, the British parliament enacted the first of the Quartering Acts, requiring the American colonies to pay the costs of British soldiers serving in the colonies, requiring that if the local barracks provided insufficient space, that the colonists lodge the troops in alehouses and livery stables. After the Boston Tea Party, the Quartering Act of 1774 was enacted. One of the Intolerable Acts that pushed the colonies toward revolution, it authorized British troops to be housed wherever necessary, including in private homes; the quartering of troops was cited as one of the colonists' grievances in the United States Declaration of Independence. After several years of comparatively weak government under the Articles of Confederation, a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia proposed a new constitution on September 17, 1787, featuring a stronger chief executive and other changes.
George Mason, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the drafter of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, proposed that a bill of rights listing and guaranteeing civil liberties be included. Other delegates—including future Bill of Rights drafter James Madison—disagreed, arguing that existing state guarantees of civil liberties were sufficient and that any attempt to enumerate individual rights risked the implication that other, unnamed rights were unprotected. After a brief debate, Mason's proposal was defeated by a unanimous vote of the state delegations. For the constitution to be ratified, nine of the thirteen states were required to approve it in state conventions. Opposition to ratification was based on the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. Supporters of the Constitution in states where popular sentiment was against ratification proposed that their state conventions both ratify the Constitution and call for the addition of a bill of rights. Several state conventions proposed a provision against the quartering of troops in private homes.
At the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention, Patrick Henry stated, "One of our first complaints, under the former government, was the quartering of troops among us. This was one of the principal reasons for dissolving the connection with Great Britain. Here we may have troops in time of peace, they may be billeted in any manner — to tyrannize and crush us." In the 1st United States Congress, following the state legislatures' request, James Madison proposed twenty constitutional amendments based on state bills of rights and English sources such as the Bill of Rights 1689. Several revisions to the future Third Amendment were proposed in Congress, which chiefly differed in the way in which peace and war were distinguished, whether the executive or the legislature would have the authority to authorize quartering. However, the amendment passed Congress unchanged and by unanimous vote. Congress reduced Madison's proposed twenty amendments to twelve, these were submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789.
By the time the Bill of Rights was submitted to the states for ratification, opinions had shifted in both parties. Many Federalists, who had opposed a Bill of Rights, now supported the Bill as a means of silencing the Anti-Federalists' most effective criticism. Many Anti-Federalists, in contrast, now opposed it, realizing that the Bill's adoption would lessen the chances of a second constitutional convention, which they desired. Anti-Federalists such as Richard Henry Lee argued that the Bill left the most objectionable portions of the Constitution, such as the federal judiciary and direct taxation, intact. On November 20, 1789, New Jersey ratified eleven of the twelve amendments, rejecting Article II, which regulated Congressional pay raises. On December 19 and 22 Maryland and North Carolina ratified all twelve amendments. On January 19, 25, 28, 1790 South Carolina, New Hampshire, Delaware ratified the Bill, though New Hampshire rejected the amendment on Congressional pay raises, Delaware rejected Article I, which regulated the size of the House.
This brought the total of ratifying states to six of the required ten, but the process stalled in other states
Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government and each state from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". It was ratified on February 1870, as the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments. In the final years of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, Congress debated the rights of the millions of former black slaves. By 1869, amendments had been passed to abolish slavery and provide citizenship and equal protection under the laws, but the election of Ulysses S. Grant to the presidency in 1868 convinced a majority of Republicans that protecting the franchise of black male voters was important for the party's future. On February 26, 1869, after rejecting more sweeping versions of a suffrage amendment, Congress proposed a compromise amendment banning franchise restrictions on the basis of race, color, or previous servitude. After surviving a difficult ratification fight, the amendment was certified as duly ratified and part of the Constitution on March 30, 1870.
United States Supreme Court decisions in the late nineteenth century interpreted the amendment narrowly. From 1890 to 1910, southern states adopted new state constitutions and enacted laws that raised barriers to voter registration; this resulted in most black voters and many poor white ones being disenfranchised by poll taxes and discriminatory literacy tests, among other barriers to voting, from which white male voters were exempted by grandfather clauses. A system of white primaries and violent intimidation by white groups suppressed black participation. In the twentieth century, the Court began to interpret the amendment more broadly, striking down grandfather clauses in Guinn v. United States and dismantling the white primary system in the "Texas primary cases". Along with measures such as the Twenty-fourth Amendment, which forbade poll taxes in federal elections, Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, which forbade poll taxes in state elections, these decisions increased black participation in the American political system.
To enforce the amendment, Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided federal oversight of elections in discriminatory jurisdictions, banned literacy tests and similar discriminatory devices, created legal remedies for people affected by voting discrimination. The amendment created a split within the women's suffrage movement over the amendment not prohibiting denying the women the right to vote on account of sex. Section 1; the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2; the Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. In the final years of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, Congress debated the rights of black former slaves freed by the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1865 Thirteenth Amendment, the latter of which had formally abolished slavery. Following the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment by Congress, Republicans grew concerned over the increase it would create in the congressional representation of the Democratic-dominated Southern states.
Because the full population of freed slaves would be now counted rather than the three-fifths mandated by the previous Three-Fifths Compromise, the Southern states would increase their power in the population-based House of Representatives. Republicans hoped to offset this advantage by attracting and protecting votes of the newly enfranchised black population. In 1865, Congress passed what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1866, guaranteeing citizenship without regard to race, color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude; the bill guaranteed equal benefits and access to the law, a direct assault on the Black Codes passed by many post-war Southern states. The Black Codes attempted to return ex-slaves to something like their former condition by, among other things, restricting their movement, forcing them to enter into year-long labor contracts, prohibiting them from owning firearms, by preventing them from suing or testifying in court. Although urged by moderates in Congress to sign the bill, President Johnson vetoed it on March 27, 1866.
In his veto message, he objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the freedmen at a time when 11 out of 36 states were unrepresented in the Congress, that it discriminated in favor of African Americans and against whites. Three weeks Johnson's veto was overridden and the measure became law; this was the first time in American history that Congress was able to muster the votes necessary to override a presidential veto. Despite this victory some Republicans who had supported the goals of the Civil Rights Act began to doubt that Congress possessed the constitutional power to turn those goals into laws; the experience encouraged both radical and moderate Republicans to seek Constitutional guarantees for black rights, rather than relying on temporary political majorities. On June 18, 1866, Congress adopted the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed citizenship and equal protection under the laws regardless of race, sent it to the states for ratification. After a bitter struggle that included attempted rescissions of ratification by two states, the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted on July 28, 1868.
Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment punished, by reduced representation in the House of Representatives, any state that disenfranchised any male citizens over 21 years of age. By failing to adopt a harsher penalty, this signaled to the states that they still posse
Signing of the United States Constitution
The Signing of the United States Constitution occurred on September 17, 1787, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, when 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, representing 12 states, endorsed the Constitution created during the four-month-long convention. In addition to signatures, this endorsement, the Constitution's eschatocol, included a brief declaration that the delegates' work has been completed and that those whose signatures appear on it subscribe to the final document. Included are, a statement pronouncing the document's adoption by the states present, a formulaic dating of its adoption, along with the signatures of those endorsing it. Additionally, the convention's secretary, William Jackson, signed the document to authenticate the validity of the delegate signatures, he made a few secretarial notes. The language of the concluding endorsement, conceived by Gouverneur Morris and presented to the convention by Benjamin Franklin, was made intentionally ambiguous in hopes of winning over the votes of dissenting delegates.
Advocates for the new frame of government, realizing the impending difficulty of obtaining the consent of the states needed for it to become operational, were anxious to obtain the unanimous support of the delegations from each state. It was feared that many of the delegates would refuse to give their individual assent to the Constitution. Therefore, in order that the action of the Convention would appear to be unanimous, the formula, Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present... was devised. The U. S. Constitution lays out the frame of the nation's federal government and delineates how its 3 branches are to function. Of those who signed it every one had taken part in the American Revolution. In general, they represented a cross-section of 18th-century American leadership, with individuals having experience in local or colonial and state government. Jonathan Dayton, age 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, age 81, was the oldest. On July 24, 1787 convention delegates selected a Committee of Detail to write-up a draft constitution reflective of the resolutions passed by the convention up to that point.
The final report of this committee, a twenty-three article document, became the first draft of the constitution. Overall, the draft produced by the committee conformed to the resolutions adopted by the Convention, though some portions were rephrased during the process. After it issued this report, the committee continued to meet off and on until early September; the draft constitution section by section and clause by clause. Details were attended to, further compromises were effected. On September 8, 1787, a Committee of Style, with different members, was impaneled to distill a final draft constitution from the twenty-three approved articles; the final draft, presented to the convention on September 12, contained seven articles, a preamble, a closing statement, cleverly written by Gouverneur Morris so as to make the constitution seem unanimous. The committee presented a proposed letter to accompany the constitution when delivered to the Congress of the Confederation; the final document, engrossed by Jacob Shallus, was taken up on Monday, September 17, at the Convention's final session.
Several delegates were disappointed by the numerous compromises contained in the final document, believing that they had impaired its quality. Alexander Hamilton called the Constitution a "worthless fabric", certain to be superseded. Luther Martin regarded it as a stab in the back of the goddess of liberty; the most that Madison and the majority of delegates hoped, was that this practical, workable constitution, planned to meet the immediate needs of thirteen states with four million people, would last a generation. In all, twelve of the thirteen states sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Several attendees left before the signing ceremony, three that did not refused to sign. Benjamin Franklin summed up the sentiments of those who did sign, stating: "There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them." He would accept the Constitution, "because I expect no better and because I am not sure that it is not the best".
The closing endorsement of the U. S. Constitution serves an authentication function only, it neither assigns powers to the federal government nor does it provide specific limitations on government action. It does however, provide essential documentation of the Constitution's validity, a statement of "This is what was agreed to." It records who signed the Constitution, plus where they signed. It describes the role played by the signers in developing the document. Due to this limited function, it is overlooked and no court has cited it when reaching a judicial decision. On the final day of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin delivered an address endorsing the Constitution despite any perceived imperfections. Hoping to gain the support of critics and create a sense of common accord, Franklin proposed, the convention agreed, that the Constitution be endorsed by the delegates as individual witnesses of the unanimous consent of the states present, thus the signers subscribed their names as witnesses to.
The signers' names are, with the exception of Convention Pres
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which respect an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights; the Bill of Rights was proposed to assuage Anti-Federalist opposition to Constitutional ratification. The First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress, many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today. Beginning with Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court applied the First Amendment to states—a process known as incorporation—through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In Everson v. Board of Education, the Court drew on Thomas Jefferson's correspondence to call for "a wall of separation between church and State", though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute.
Speech rights were expanded in a series of 20th and 21st-century court decisions which protected various forms of political speech, anonymous speech, campaign financing and school speech. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for defamation and libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Commercial speech, however, is less protected by the First Amendment than political speech, is therefore subject to greater regulation; the Free Press Clause protects publication of information and opinions, applies to a wide variety of media. In Near v. Minnesota and New York Times v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected against prior restraint—pre-publication censorship—in all cases; the Petition Clause protects the right to petition all branches and agencies of government for action. In addition to the right of assembly guaranteed by this clause, the Court has ruled that the amendment implicitly protects freedom of association.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. In 1776, the second year of the American Revolutionary War, the Virginia colonial legislature passed a Declaration of Rights that included the sentence "The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, can never be restrained but by despotic Governments." Eight of the other twelve states made similar pledges. However, these declarations were considered "mere admonitions to state legislatures", rather than enforceable provisions. After several years of comparatively weak government under the Articles of Confederation, a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia proposed a new constitution on September 17, 1787, featuring among other changes a stronger chief executive. George Mason, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the drafter of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, proposed that the Constitution include a bill of rights listing and guaranteeing civil liberties.
Other delegates—including future Bill of Rights drafter James Madison—disagreed, arguing that existing state guarantees of civil liberties were sufficient and that any attempt to enumerate individual rights risked the implication that other, unnamed rights were unprotected. After a brief debate, Mason's proposal was defeated by a unanimous vote of the state delegations. For the constitution to be ratified, nine of the thirteen states were required to approve it in state conventions. Opposition to ratification was based on the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. Supporters of the Constitution in states where popular sentiment was against ratification proposed that their state conventions both ratify the Constitution and call for the addition of a bill of rights; the U. S. Constitution was ratified by all thirteen states. In the 1st United States Congress, following the state legislatures' request, James Madison proposed twenty constitutional amendments, his proposed draft of the First Amendment read as follows: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.
The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments. The people shall not be restrained from peaceably consulting for their common good; this language was condensed by Congress, passed the House and Senate with no recorded debate, complicating future discussion of the Amendment's intent. The First Amendment, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, was submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789, adopted on December 15, 1791. Thomas Jefferson wrote with respect to the First Amendment and its restriction on the legislative branch of the federal government in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists: Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies between Ma