Freedom First

Freedom First

Jun 19th 2023

Those of us involved in numismatics are appreciative of how our hobby affords us the ability to peer into the windows of the past. American currency chronicles the evolution of our country from former subjects of the Crown to its emergence as a newly independent nation. In the 247 years that have passed since declaring our independence, we have continued to celebrate our extraordinary country’s milestones and achievements through a plethora of coins, notes, medals and other numismatic items — including one of our most important documents, the U.S. Constitution.

On a day-to-day basis we might not fully appreciate our many privileges, but the protection of our cherished values provided by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights is a bedrock of our exceptional democracy.

Freedom First

Before even agreeing to ratify the Constitution, Early American representatives demanded that certain freedoms be protected. This led to ten amendments being added to Constitution, which together became known as the Bill of Rights. Those added amendments gave citizens more confidence in the new government and put into place many of the most valued freedoms of Americans today.

The First Amendment

“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 First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The First Amendment protects many of the civil rights associated with life in the United States, including freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It also addresses the right to protest peacefully and petition the government. There’s no legal age or citizenship requirement to exercise First Amendment freedoms. These basic rights are guaranteed to anyone in the United States.

The freedoms provided by the First Amendment over two centuries ago presented progressive ideas to the rest of the world. Many people at that time — and even to this day — do not live under a system of government that recognizes an individual’s rights to believe and worship as their conscience dictates, or to establish and express their own or shared values without fear of punishment.

The importance of these freedoms cannot be overstated. The past, the present and the future are better thanks to the First Amendment of the Constitution. So, stop and take a minute to to think about how very different your life would be without these guaranteed rights. We, as Americans should be very proud of the progress we have made through our democratic documents and institutions.