First Amendment Library

First Amendment Library

“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

FIRE’s First Amendment Library

The First Amendment Library’s goal is to enhance the public’s understanding of the 45 words of the First Amendment and to do so in an impartial, historical, analytical, practical, and accessible way. FIRE’s First Amendment Library provides visitors core information about the First Amendment’s five freedoms: religion, speech, press, assembly, & petition.

Explore Supreme Court opinions, historical timelines, overview essays, the glossary, banned and challenged books, academic discussions, and other resources to get the full picture of how the United States’ culture of free speech and First Amendment law has developed over the years. Whether you’re an educator, student, or generally interested in your rights, look to history to learn how to better exercise your rights. Our hope is that the Library will generate more interest in and respect for the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. In that regard, the First Amendment Library is an evolving resource, replete with updates and expansions. 

Browse Freedoms

Freedom of Assembly & Petition

The right to gather peacefully in public to express opinions & to contact the government.

Freedom of Speech & Expression

The right to engage in expression without censorship or interference from the government.

Cases on Campus

Cases regarding higher education and K-12 cases often cited in campus speech decisions.

Freedom of Religion

The Free Exercise Clause blocks the government from interfering with religious practices.

Freedom of the Press

Protections against government meddling in the publication information by journalists.

Freedom of Association

The right to organize and advance particular viewpoints through those associations.