freedom of assembly
The right to hold public meetings and form associations without interference by the government. Freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the First Amendment (see also First Amendment) to the Constitution.
notes for freedom of assembly
Words nearby freedom of assembly
MORE ABOUT FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY
What is freedom of assembly?
Freedom of assembly is the right to hold public meetings or gatherings without the government interfering.
In general, freedom of assembly means that the government cannot prevent citizens from peacefully gathering or meeting in a public place. Public places include city parks, government property that is open to the public, or sidewalks. The First Amendment explicitly protects freedom of assembly only against the federal government, but the Supreme Court has also ruled that freedom of assembly is protected against state governments according to the Fourteenth Amendment.
We commonly think of freedom of assembly as protecting our right to protest peacefully against the government or to work as a group to achieve political goals (collective activism). However, freedom of assembly also applies to other types of gatherings, like religious services, pride parades, and candlelight vigils. Freedom of assembly means that the government cannot completely ban or restrict these events.
Freedom of assembly does have limits, though. The biggest one is that only peaceful gatherings are allowed. Violent gatherings are illegal, meaning that riots, street fights, and insurrections are not protected by freedom of assembly. Additionally, gatherings that involve illegal activities and disrupt law and order are not allowed. For example, protests that interfere with traffic are not protected.
Finally, the Supreme Court has ruled that the government can restrict assemblies to certain times and places as long as it has a good reason for doing so and it isn’t discriminating against certain groups. In practice, this means organizers of large protests or parades often need to get a permit from the police department or city hall before they can legally hold a large gathering on public property.
Why is freedom of assembly important?
In the United States, the right to freedom of assembly is established in the First Amendment of the Constitution, ratified in 1791. According to the amendment, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”
The Founding Fathers considered freedom of assembly an important right. The British monarchy outlawed public assemblies out of fear that British citizens or colonists would rally together to try to overthrow the government. As a result, the American colonists were unable to legally assemble to express complaints about British laws and taxes that they thought were unfair. The absence of freedom of assembly contributed to the colonists’ lack of representation in their national government in Britain.
Freedom of assembly has played a major role in the democratic process of the United States. It has allowed for assemblies for important movements such as abolitionism, women’s suffrage, and civil rights. Thanks to freedom of assembly, Americans can express themselves through events such as parades, marches, and protests.
Did you know … ?
The Communist Party helped extend freedom of assembly in state law. In De Jonge v. Oregon (1937), the state of Oregon arrested Communist Party member Dirk De Jonge for stating his communist beliefs to a gathering of people. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Orgeon had violated De Jonge’s constitutional rights, stating that freedom of assembly also applies at the state level.
What are real-life examples of freedom of assembly?
This photo shows the Women’s March held in Washington D.C. in 2017. Thanks to freedom of assembly, Americans are able to hold large, peaceful gatherings like this one.
Like all freedoms, most Americans are very protective of the freedom of assembly.
MLK 50 years ago last night: “somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.” #MLK50
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) April 4, 2018
(2/2) The U.S. government stands together in solidarity with those exercising their fundamental democratic rights – freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and the right to engage in peaceful protest. #PeacefulProtestBD
— U.S. Embassy Dhaka (@usembassydhaka) July 9, 2018
What other words are related to freedom of assembly?
Which of the following would NOT be protected by freedom of assembly?
A. an anti-war protest
B. a civil rights march
C. a street fight
D. a candlelight vigil
How to use freedom of assembly in a sentence
In other words, the free thinker defending freedom of thought.Houellebecq’s Incendiary Novel Imagines France With a Muslim President|Pierre Assouline|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
It was also an attack on our freedom of expression and way of life.
The more we appease, the more we indulge, the more emboldened the enemies of freedom become.Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Our Duty Is to Keep Charlie Hebdo Alive|Ayaan Hirsi Ali|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
No one wants to align with less freedom at a time like this.
The choice between freedom and fear is not difficult when seen with perspective.Why We Stand With Charlie Hebdo—And You Should Too|John Avlon|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
What course was taken to supply that assembly when any noble family became extinct?Gulliver's Travels|Jonathan Swift
For this use of the voice in the special service of will-power, or propelling force, it is necessary first to test its freedom.Expressive Voice Culture|Jessie Eldridge Southwick
It was a life full of freedom, and I shall never cease to be grateful for it, but I must go home soon and look after my affairs.Ancestors|Gertrude Atherton
Her success increased her confidence in herself and enhanced the boldness and freedom with which she handled her brush.Women in the fine arts, from the Seventh Century B.C. to the Twentieth Century A.D.|Clara Erskine Clement
You never know when you are going to stumble upon a jewel in the most out-of-the-way corner.Music-Study in Germany|Amy Fay