The first ten amendments, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, exist to define and safeguard the rights of the people against potential infringement by the government. Collectively, they represent one of the cornerstones of democracy in the United States.
The First Amendment guarantees the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom to assemble, and the right to petition the government with grievances. This amendment is critical to the continued functioning of a free society. It places limits upon the coercive power of the State so as to protect the free expression of ideas and the sharing of information.
The Second Amendment, the most controversial of the first ten amendments today, guarantees the right to bear arms and the right to a well-regulated militia. There is currently a considerable debate within the United States over how far this right should be applied and how to contextualize its meaning. (What does "a well-regulated militia"...
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