The first amendment to American constitution passed laws to deal the religious issues rising in the United States of America. This amendment specifies that Congress in the United States of America could not make any constitutional framework to protect the religious activities in the country. The very nature of the law is to tackle the religious violence’s happening in the United States of America. This amendment asserts that there shouldn’t be open violence in the country in the name of religion. Expressing the anger or violence against any other religious bodies are strictly prohibited under this constitutional amendment. Thus, restricting judiciary bodies to make constitution regarding any ethnic group or religion no matter to what extent it is right, government ensure the religious stability without affecting the sovereignty of the country. The first amendment was in favor of common public which ensures their civil rights by restricting Congress to protect any specific religious group to brought equality, justice, freedom of expression and freedom of speech in the United States.
In many cases, religious laws and constitutional references have been taken to create violence in the country. This amendment furthermore explained itself by addressing the most concerned areas of its considerations. The amendment urged Congress not to pass any bill regarding the religious matter. Freedom of speech and expression of religion and religious practices were protected under a constitutional framework. The amendment further asserts that no one can hold a monopoly in religious matter. Likewise, freedom of the press was considered inviolable. It reduces the power of Congress to favor any ethnic group to support its religious views. Passing of bills to protect any particular group is condemned. Why this amendment was made and what are the reasons behind it? This question took us back to the history.
In response to widespread sentiment that the United States needed a stronger federal government. A convention met in Philadelphia in 1787 and adopted the constitution of United States of America. Beside from the section paper VI which affirms that there should be no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification. This safe the people who fear that the new government uses the constitutional tools to protect a religious group and it became dominant among other groups. It also rejected the congress religious propaganda to preserve a religion under the constitutional farm. After ratification of thirteen states of America the bill for the amendment was passed in 1789, and two years later in 1791, the amendment was enforced to implement.
The United States of America has been considered as a nation of the biggest ethnic groups which cultivated genocides and mass killing. The history goes back to the KKK era where a particular group was targeted to genocide. The ethnic clashes have always been the major issues of the country. To resolve them through proper legislation and laws enforcement the nation had changed her constitution. To suppress such issues in the country, the government made some amendments in her laws. The laws defined by government explicitly address the nature of its enforceability as well as the effectiveness of their implementation. After American revolutionary war, the Virginia colonial legislature passed a declaration of rights that stated that the freedom of the press is one of the prominent defense of liberty which can never be scroll down by anybody but a government can. These and other critics were made by different states to enforce the freedom of press and speech but in the van. Various religious and ethnic group used their dominance to suppress other groups. This creates social imbalance and unrest amongst the peoples.
In 1787 George Manson the drafter of Virginia’s declaration of rights affirmed that the civil rights law must be enforced. But a strong opposition faced by him from the Future Bills of right Drafter James Madison. James Madison argues that the present civil rights laws are sufficient for the public liberty, by enforcing new rules of civil rights the existing one’s creditability may be risked. Here Manson proposal was defeated by the delegations of states. After ratified by the thirteen states the pact was finally drafted into the form of constitution. The first amendments vowed out the following statements. “The civil rights of anyone cannot be abridged on account of any religious beliefs or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall be any full or equal rights of consciences be in any manner. People should never be deprived of their rights, and press shall be Inviolable. People shall never be restraint from any peaceful assembling and consulting for their common rights”.
This amendment protected the civil rights by rejecting Congress to take a side of any religious establishment. This amendment brought up the entire society of United States of America. In actual, this constitution or amendment outlines the power and duties of three branches of the federal government and its relationship with the states. By representing common public and the common interest of the nation, this amendment was made. To protect the rights of common man to speak and raise his voice. The impacts of the first amendment in America can be seen in the power of democracy and the freedom of speech which were given to everyone in this democratic country.
If we try to find the reasons and impacts of the first amendment of American constitution we came to realize that the whole story revolves around the religion. The amendment focused on the religious matters. The question was in the mind of the government official of that time was to construct an effective and equity-based law and order in the country. Whether it be on the moral of religion or be independent of the religion. The constitution formation went through many evolutionary stages to form its final statue. The first two presidents of the United States were patrons of religion. George Washington was an Episcopal vestryman, and Johns Adams describe himself as church going animal. Washing Ton called religion as the source of morality. The third and fourth president also had the strong affiliation toward religion.
But the problem was not with the religion rather it was with the people who follow it and used religion for their personal mean. The same stance was taken by Congress to shelter religious group under the law. Which was a threat to the other minority groups? Congress wants to legalize some religious acts pertaining to a specific religion which otherwise would snatch the rights of others. By restricting them to speak, or putting sanctions on media. The response to the Congress propaganda comes in the form of first amendment civil right protection. This amendment is to secure the all civil rights including freedom of speech, expression of ideas, raising voice to the government in a peaceful manner. It declares the media and press an inviolable and regard it as the pillar of the state. It also asserts that there should not be restrictions on the press and no one has right to snatches the rights of others through any legal or illegal way. Dominancy of religious groups on others were rejected and everyone was made safe under this amendment. Which pushed back the Congress struggle to promote religious supremacy specific group. The first amendment protects the rights of civilians and regulates social justice in the society.
Lefebure, Leo D. “Religion, Violence, and Public Life in the United States of America.” Pathways for Interreligious Dialogue in the Twenty-First Century. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2016. 213-229.
Levy, Leonard W. The establishment clause: Religion and the First Amendment. UNC Press Books, 2017.
Mitchell, Don. “The liberalization of free speech: Or, how to protest in public space is silenced.” Spaces of Contention: Spatialities and Social Movements 47 (2016).
Inglehart, Ronald. The silent revolution: Changing values and political styles among Western publics. Princeton University Press, 2015.