First Amendment Research Information
Freedom of Petition
In some countries, just voicing opposition to government policies can result in a penalty of death.
These oppressive governments do whatever it takes to prevent people from organizing in opposition to those in authority. By stifling free expression, it is easier for tyrants to control public opinion and retain their power.
The First Amendment protects the right of citizens to petition the Government for a redress of grievances without the fear of reprisals.
In other words, the law protects your right to criticize the government and its public officials, so long as the criticism is not libelous (a published communication that falsely and maliciously harms a person's reputation).
Today, issues involving the right of petition are mostly absorbed by the protection of freedom of speech.