First and Second Amendment
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“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.” (Chips Quinn Scholars, 2011)
The above quotation was a part of the first Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. The First Amendment came into being because the citizens of the United States of America were uncertain and wanted a guarantee of the basic rights and freedoms. The First Amendment gave the protection of freedom of speech, media, religious rights, and political progress. (Chips Quinn Scholars, 2011)
The First Amendment was a medium through which the religious minorities were protected. They could not be prosecuted or oppressed as now it was the government’s responsibility to protect them. Also the press was given the possibility of change and was now able to raise the protests or support movements. It also obtained the freedom for political activism. (Chips Quinn Scholars, 2011)
The First Amendment guaranteed the rights that the government of the United States of America had forgotten to include in the Constitution. Though there are questions raised on whether this Amendment was significant, nonetheless, it later went on to bring about the Bill of Rights.
The Second Amendment comes on as a complete change. The Second Amendment was a medium of much discussion between the people and the government officials. There was a concern in the society relating to the violence and the increasing crime rates. Those which supported gun control began severe opposition against it because according to them this Amendment only led to more trouble for the country.
Gun control is one issue which has plagued the history of the United States to much extreme and this Amendment was just the start of what was later to come. On one side there were people who detested the idea of guns used by individuals as this led to the increase in the crime in the society? On the other hand, there were those who believed that owning a gun was an automatic right of the people as it was a tool for self-defence.
The Second Amendment reads:
“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The increasing problems in the country were a reason why the government agreed to pass out this amendment allowing the usage of guns and carrying around them by the individuals for self-protection. However, much of the debate around the Second Amendment is based upon the phrasing of this Amendment. It is this reason why it is considered as a very controversial Amendment.
However, there has been much debate relating to the part about firearms in the Second Amendment. Even without considering it there is still much that does not get along well with the masses.
“In linking the First and Second Amendments, scholars have also connected the dissent-promoting values of each, suggesting that they – apparently more than the other amendments – are focused on empowering individuals to resist government oppression. For example, it has been argued that because the Second Amendment, like the First one, is designed to protect dissent regarding gun registration requirements, the assault-weapons ban are unconstitutional. This dissent focused, functionalist account is distinguishable from the leading alternative explanations: self-defence for the Second Amendment, self-actualization for the First.” (Blocher, 2009)
Gun control has been an important issue in the history of the United States. There have always been arguments for and against it. It was the Second Amendment which gave the first formal decision on this issue. Also the press has the right to publicly right what they believe to be through via sources they need not declare. The Amendments also highlight that there is freedom of religion and therefore, there is no such thing as state religion.
Therefore, the First and the Second Amendments were interrelated. They were in agreement with the others in the way that the First Amendment ensured that the people were free and could exercise their rights of freedom of speech and the Second Amendment made sure that they had the means to use it as well. The Second Amendment actually promotes the idea of the First Amendment and reinforces the message put forward by it. This message is that everyone has the right to speak up. If the government tries to oppress the people, then the Second Amendment provides them with the tools to defend themselves. All of this with respect to the gun control movement is extremely significant.
To conclude, despite the opposition, these two Amendments went on in History as the first two changes made to the constitution showing that there was really need for them.
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