Freedom to Petition

The Freedom to Petition the government for redress of grievances is one of your Five Freedoms protected under the First Amendment. It is the freedom to encourage or disapprove government action through nonviolent, legal means. This fundamental freedom enables you to stand up and speak out against injustices or policies that are affecting you or in which you feel strongly.

This right can be exercised by gathering signatures for ballot initiatives, lobbying, peacefully assembling, email campaigns, letter-writing, filing lawsuits and picketing. While this right allows you to take action on particular issues, the government can impose reasonable restrictions in regards to place, time and manner of petitioning, depending on the case.

Protected under the First Amendment, and by safely exercising this right, you can publicly participate in government. When put into action, it’s recommended to gather petitions on public property and to exude a civil demeanor.

3%

Only 3% of Americans were able to name Freedom to Petition the government as one of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.1

The First Amendment protects these five freedoms equally.

  1. “2017 Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey.” Annenberg Public Policy Center, September 2017. Accessed June 13, 2018. https://cdn.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Appendix_Civics_survey_2017.pdf