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© 2016 Anti-Defamation League, www.adl.org/education-outreach Page 1 of 22 THE CURRENT EVENTS CLASSROOM THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND OUR FREEDOMS 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. The 45 words that make up the First Amendment haven’t changed since they were adopted by the United States as part of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791. For over 200 years, the First Amendment has been the cornerstone of freedom in the United States. Commonly referred to as the “five freedoms,” the First Amendment has helped people in the U.S. exercise their rights to work for a more free and just society and impacts every aspect of our lives. The First Amendment guarantees freedoms of speech, religion, the press, association and petition, and was a radical and revolutionar...