The Bill of Rights was passed by Congress on September 25, 1789 and ratified on December 15, 1791, giving the United States its first 10 Constitutional Amendments. The First Amendment provides for freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.

The Fairfield Museum and the League of Women Voters of Fairfield will partner to present an informative session on the First Amendment on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 2:30 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

The First Amendment’s religious, press, speech and assembly guarantees embody the very essence of American democracy. But what do they mean today in our era of countervailing religious and civil rights claims, “fake news,” corporate speech rights, flag-kneeling controversies, and violent public protests? The program, “The First Amendment Today: Hot Button Issues,” will attempt to answer those questions. Dr. Donald Rogers will illuminate First Amendment rights implicated in “hot button” contemporary disputes and consider the overall status of First Amendment rights today. Reflecting on our country’s constitutional experience, moreover, the presentation will challenge listeners to assess the modern viability of the First Amendment’s basic underlying principle—that a free society.

Dr. Rogers is adjunct lecturer in history at Central Connecticut State University, Housatonic Community College, and University of Bridgeport. He received his MA and PhD in US legal-constitutional history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is author of Making Capitalism Safe: Work Safety and Health Regulation in America, 1880-1940, editor of Voting and the Spirit of American Democracy, and author of articles on legal and Connecticut history in Connecticut History Review and Connecticut Supreme Court History. The immediate past president of the Connecticut Coalition for History, he serves on the Boards of Civics First of Connecticut and of the Connecticut Supreme Court Historical Society.

The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum shop, at 370 Beach Road, is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Members of the museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For information, call 203-259-1598 or visit Fairfieldhistory.org.

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1789

The year the Bill of Rights was passed by Congress.