Change is an incredible feat, truly achieved by an incredible few. It can be glorious, revolutionary, and subversive, as well as unequivocally terrifying for those who have their dreams set on starting a revolution. The greatest men in American history have revolted against a system that had long been in place to fight for what they passionately believed was right. I am speaking, of course, of the American Revolution. While most Americans take these freedoms as God-given, these men did not, and they dreamed of a world where men could actively live in harmony with the government. As a story heard hundreds of years later, the course they took makes logical sense, and it seems glaringly evident what these men should have done, but at the time, this was such a daunting goal it seemed almost delirious to the rest of the world.
This is what the First Amendment means to me. Yes, it includes the rights that I have so fortunately been blessed with – speech, press, assembly, and petition – but to me it represents something more. It is the ability for anyone to stand up and fight for their rights, their beliefs, and their freedom. It is the chance that anyone as an American is given to rise up through the rankings of society and become whomever they set their mind to. It is the beauty of one of the first systems of democracy in the world succeeding and proving to everyone else that, yes, men can be truly free. Not even one hundred years later, our quickly-advancing civilization extended this right to African Americans; as those men who were born in America took advantage of the rights given to them by our founding fathers to once again prove the extraordinarily truth of America’s greatness. Time and time again have we proved in history that our government “…Of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth” (Abraham Lincoln, 1863). These beautiful principles set forth by the First Amendment unite the citizens of America in a bond of freedom that can never be broken. The passionate love of our country that we all share is expressed every day, as children say the Pledge of Allegiance, teenagers discuss the details of the philosophic questions that led to said principles, and men and women give their lives to protect our beloved country. As one people, we are able to speak our minds as individuals as well as through media, assemble together to stand up for our beliefs, and seek assistance from our government without fear. This bond, this strength that unites us is what the First Amendment is truly all about; the undeniable truth that we as individual Americans are capable of enormous feats when strengthened as one nation under God, being led forth by the principles that our founding fathers lay for us on that fateful day.