EL Civics for ESL Students

Rights of Everyone Living in the United States

Civics, History, and Government
Amish Practicing Freedom of Religion

Collecting Signatures on a Petition

Microphone Represents Free Speech


1. Thomas Jefferson supported individual rights, especially freedom of religion.

2. Colonists who favored strong individual rights opposed a strong national government.

3. The Anti-Federalists wanted a list of things the federal government could not do.

4. James Madison wrote a list of individual rights and limits of the government. His list became the United States Bill of Rights, and it was approved in 1791. The Bill of Rights includes the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

5. Freedoms and rights require enforcement and support by the police and courts in order to be effective.

  • Rights are freedoms. They are basic things that people are free to do.
  • Everyone living in the United States has basic rights. This means that both citizens and non-citizens have rights.
  • These rights are:
  • 1. freedom of expression

    2. freedom of speech

    3. freedom of assembly

    4. freedom to petition the government

    5. freedom of worship

    6. the right to bear arms

  • Freedom of religion means that you can practice any religion, or not practice a religion. Congress cannot set up an official religion.
  • Individual freedoms are important because they limit the powers of the government and allow for the free exchange of ideas.
  • Discussing and debating ideas is important in a democracy because it allows people to share their opinions on public issues. It also allows for peaceful change and advances knowledge.
  • Most of our freedoms are protected by the Bill of Rights.
  • Freedom of expression is an important feature of all democracies.
  • Democracies have a system of government based on voting and the principle of majority decision making.
  • It is important in a democracy that elections are fair and that votes are counted honestly.
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