Amendment I (Petition and Assembly)

[Volume 5, Page 207]

Document 19

St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries 1:App. 299--300


The same article secures to the people the right of assembling peaceably; and of petitioning the government for the redress of grievances. The convention of Virginia proposed an article expressed in terms more consonant with the nature of our representative democracy, declaring, that the people have a right, peaceably to assemble together to consult for their common good, or to instruct their representatives: that every freeman has a right to petition, or apply to the legislature, for the redress of grievances. This is the language of a free people asserting their rights: the other savours of that stile of condescension, in which favours are supposed to be granted. In England, no petition to the king, or either house of parliament for any alteration in church or state, shall be signed by above twenty persons, unless the matter thereof be approved by three justices of the peace, or a major part of the grandjury in the county; nor be presented by more than ten persons. In America, there is no such restraint.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 5, Amendment I (Petition and Assembly), Document 19
The University of Chicago Press

Tucker, St. George. Blackstone's Commentaries: With Notes of Reference to the Constitution and Laws of the Federal Government of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 5 vols. Philadelphia, 1803. Reprint. South Hackensack, N.J.: Rothman Reprints, 1969.