The First Amendment to the United States Constitution
After the American colonists won their freedom from England in 1783, they could not agree on the form of their new government. Many were afraid that a strong central government would lead to tyranny again. So the colonists added ten amendments to their new constitution in 1787 guaranteeing a number of fundamental rights for the citizens of the new country. The first of these amendments protects, among other things, the right to free speech and a free press. The government CAN regulate speech (or “expression” as it is now called) but only under certain conditions, the most important being obscenity, concern for public safety or national security.