One of the most important rights given to American citizens, is the First Article, in the Bill of Rights. When this was written, it was a radical departure from even “free” societies of that era. This Article was a departure from widely held beliefs that the common citizen would abuse even simple rights such as freedom of speech or press. These rights could be turned against those in power and might ultimately result in that government’s downfall.
However, our founders, even those Federalists who thought the new government needed a central power base, realized that checks and balances are needed to rein in too much power. Allowing every citizen the right to freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press and to petition the government, “We the People” had a voice in our lives.