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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.

Amendment I, Constitution of the United States


The desire for freedom and the quest for individual liberty are American ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. In each era, Congress has debated and enacted measures to secure and expand freedom for all Americans, as demonstrated in these historical documents.

3 Images Foreign and Domestic Spying Featured S. 1566, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, October 12, 1978
4 Images The 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession Featured Official Program—Woman Suffrage Procession, cover illustration by Benjamin M. Dale, March 3, 1913
5 Images Reconstruction of the Union Featured Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan, photograph by Mathew B. Brady, ca. 1870