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The 1st Amendment

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First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is only 45 words long, yet it protects our most basic freedoms. It reads in full:

"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."

“But, above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.”

—Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Police Department of Chicago v. Mosley (1972)

The 1st Amendment FAQs

Generally, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects all speech, although the following forms of speech enjoy varying degrees of lesser protection:

Related Laws and Policies

U.S. Constitution

" Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech …"
—Amendment I

" No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."
—Amendment XIV, Section 1, Making the First Amendment Applicable to State and Local Governments

Maryland Constitution

" That the liberty of the press ought to be inviolably preserved; that every citizen of the State ought to be allowed to speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that privilege."
—Maryland Declaration of Rights, article 40

Salisbury University Policies

University System of Maryland Policies

Other Resources