First Amendment: Freedom of Assembly (1791)

The right to assemble or gather peacefully is a political right that the Founders considered vital to ensuring justice in government. Assembling peacefully demands that citizens obey laws and act with consideration and respect.

Throughout American history, individuals and groups have exercised the right to peaceably assemble in order to bring the public’s attention to injustice. Frederick Douglass attended abolitionist meetings, and Martin Luther King, Jr.led civil rights marches and wrote about his experiences in Letter from Birmingham Jail. Women’s suffragists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul organized conventions, demonstrations, and parades.