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Introduction A Bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth general or particular and what no just government should refuse --- Thomas Jefferson December 20 1787 The American Bill of Rights inspired by Jefferson and drafted by James Madison was adopted and in 1791 the Constitutions first ten amendments became the law of the land The Bill of Rights was added to the constitution for many purposes and has adapted to take on many more The amendments are used to provide answers to challenging questions in critical court cases and have taken shape with the ever-changing times In Our Defense presents the many sides of the Bill of Rights It exemplifies how the Founding Fathers protected the individual rights of the people against the power of the government and how it still affects our lives today The First Amendment The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech press assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances and the implied rights of association and belief The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech where it attempts to regulate the content of the speech This is where the clear and present danger test comes in During the First World War an activist named Schenck campaigned against the draft which he alleged constituted illegal involuntary servitude He was convicted of inciting desertion in violation of the Espionage Act He circulated material which claimed that the conscription act violated the Thirteenth Amendment and asserted that a conscript is little better than a convict In 1919 this
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