THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Protects the spoken word, the arts and media
Guarantees the right to gather in protest
Ensures the right to lobby government for change
OF THE Press
Protects the written word, literature and the news media.
Allows us to worship as we wish and prevents government from establishing or endorsing a religion
Welcome to The First Amendment Encyclopedia, the largest single searchable compilation of articles on First Amendment freedoms on the web! We have more than 1,600 articles and are expanding daily with case summaries and topical articles written by scholars and other experts. It's easy to search. Just type into the search bar at the top of the page, or browse some of our collections below.
Who are we? The John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at Middle Tennessee State University started the online encyclopedia project in 2016 when it purchased the rights to two bound print volumes of the Encyclopedia of the First Amendment published by CQ Press. We put them online where more people could find them, adding links and references to help you explore even more. We are indebted to the more than 200 contributors who wrote the original essays and articles in those volumes, including Mr. Seigenthaler, the founder of the First Amendment Center and longtime publisher and editor of The Tennessean, who wrote the forward. It is fitting that the chair founded in his honor continues to power a living digital version of the encyclopedia as a free educational resource for all.
The best way to protect the five freedoms of the First Amendment is to ensure that the next generation of Americans fully understands them. Young Americans who see the First Amendment as critical to democracy and central to America’s values are more likely to be vigilant in its defense.
Teachers have limited classroom time and often little flexibility, but educators across the United States have developed lesson plans and exercises that can illuminate the First Amendment for students of any age, in the classroom or at home.
The Free Speech Center has compiled a list of the best of these educational exercises as part of its Lessons in Liberty collection.
EXPLORE THE FIRST AMENDMENT ENCYCLOPEDIA
LIST OF TOPICS
& LEGAL TERMS