“Freedom of expres­sion” includes several individual rights. It includes freedom of speech, freedom to peaceably assemble, and the freedom to petition the govern­ment for a redress of grievances. In a representative de­mocracy, individual beliefs and opinions are important to our national dialogue and necessary to maintain a responsible citi­zenry. Americans can speak and act as they wish as long as it does not endanger others or obstruct another’s freedom of expression in the process.

In the United States, the freedom to hold any religious belief, or none at all, is considered a basic, or unalienable right. The government cannot violate this right. Religious intolerance is unacceptable in a society where everyone has individual freedom. In cases where religious practices hurt the common good or endanger the health of others, the Supreme Court has imposed minor limitations on the way some religious practices are performed.

People accused of a crime have the right to a speedy and fair trial by a jury of peers. In a free society, those accused of a crime are assumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The American system of justice treats all people fairly, ensuring the rights of the individual are maintained.

The Constitution protects the rights of individuals to have firearms for personal defense. This privilege is subject to reasonable restrictions designed to prevent unfit persons, or those with the intent to criminally misuse guns or other firearms, from obtaining such items.

By voting in federal, state, and local elections, citizens choose their gov­ernment leaders. The right to vote is one of the most important liberties granted to American citizens. It is the foundation of a free society.

Public service is a worthy endeavor and can lead to an extremely rewarding career working for the American people. Many federal government jobs require applicants to have U.S. citizenship. U.S. citi­zens can apply for federal employment within a government agency or department.

U.S. citizenship is required for many elected offices in this country. Naturalized U.S. citizens can run for any elected office they choose with the exception of President and Vice President of the United States, which require candidates to be native-born citizens.

As a society based on individual freedom, it is the inherent right of all Americans to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The United States is a land of opportunity. People are able to choose their own path in life based on personal goals and objectives. Americans can make their own decisions and pursue their own interests as long as it does not interfere with the rights of others.