Freedom of Petition
The right of petition was enumerated in the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) -- which was a statement telling the world why we were rebelling against King George III. Our repeated petitions to the King had been ignored: "In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury."
Later, the declarations of rights of the newly formed states of Pennsylvania (1776), North Carolina (1776), Massachusetts (1790), and New Hampshire (1784) included guarantees for peaceable assembly and petition. The Delaware Declaration of Rights (1776) and Maryland's Declaration of Rights (1776) expressly protect the right of petition.
In the 1830s Congress received numerous petitions to end slavery in the District of Columbia.
In 1894, the right of petition was invoked by the jobless of Coxey's army who marched from Ohio to Washington, D.C. to ask for legislation to relieve unemployment.
Click to enlarge
The freedom of petition is the right to ask your government to do something or to refrain from doing something. The First Amendment contains this guarantee, also. The freedom of petition gives you the right to write to your Congressman and request him to work for the passage of laws you favor. You are free to ask him to change laws that you do not like. The right of petition also helps government officials to know what Americans think and what actions they want the government to take.
Those who petition may aim their requests to Congress, state governments and legislatures, and the courts at any level.
Under the right of petition, individuals and groups of citizens and corporations may lobby for laws and policies that favor them.