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The First Amendment
Does it Still Mean Anything?
Can you name the five freedoms of the
by Sarah Jarvis Star Tribune
The First Amendment means free speech, yet it covers four other issues.
What are they?
Unless you are a lawyer or a student taking a civics class, it might be
hard to remember that the First Amendment covers more than freedom of
speech. Issues such as speech on college campuses and the rights of the
press have put these rights in the spotlight recently, but the First
Amendment includes three other specific freedoms beyond speech and
We traveled around the Twin Cities metro area this July 4th week to see
how many of the five freedoms outlined in the First Amendment residents
could identify. A few people could name as many as three — and most
people did remember free speech — but no one we spoke to could name all
Brian Natzel, a sales manager, was the first person of the day to name
three: freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion.
Amanda Natzel, a designer, was close, identifying freedom of speech and
the right to assemble.
Two others tied Brian Natzel's record — George Hardgrove, an accounting
manager who named freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of
religion, and Anthony Smith, a Tasks Unlimited employee who named
freedom of speech, the right to assemble and freedom of religion.
Sergio Juarez, a mechanical engineer, got freedom of speech, and Linda
Pavlick, who is unemployed, said she was caught off-guard and couldn't
remember what the First Amendment includes.
The five freedoms outlined in the First Amendment are: freedom of
religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assembly
and the right to petition the government. If you were able to name all
of them on your own, you deserve an extra hot dog and ice cream this
quintessentially American week.