Civil Liberrties and Civil Rights

Topics: United States, Democracy, Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution Pages: 5 (894 words) Published: April 14, 2013
Civil liberties and Civil rights

As the United States began to establish itself as a country, more and more problems began to surface within the nation. A perfect example of this would be the American Civil War, which significantly affected society. This brought about many changes within America such as women’s rights movements and decisions regarding African American freedom.

Citizens of America live in a society governed by democratic principles. The most basic

principal of democracy is the idea of majority rule and the government’s responsibility to

represent the will of the majority. This often leaves individuals questioning their relationship to

the state and society. This is where the Constitution comes into play. In America the

Constitution lays down the rules for the individual relationship to the state. Simply speaking, it

defines areas where government may act and where they may not act. This is why we have civil

liberties and civil rights. Although many confuse the two they are different in matter.

Does it matter if our beliefs, thoughts, and voices are regulated by the government? What if

there was a regulated dress code for citizens? What if there was only one genre of music or

movies? Many of us would feel violated, the right to believe as we want, think as we want and

voice our opinions are civil liberties. Civil liberties are rights that individuals have against

government. Among our civil liberties are the right to free expression, the right to worship (or

not) as we choose, and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Civil rights, on the other hand, deal with the protection of citizens against discrimination

due to race, ethnicity, gender, or disability. These protections come from the constitutional

amendments following the Bill of Rights. Civil rights are what people expect the government to

provide to every individual, including such as the right to vote, equality in job opportunities and

equal access to housing and education .In today’s society minorities have different faces. The

gay citizens of this country still have their liberties and rights violated daily. Many states

denying or unrecognizing same sex marriage. Without civil rights the majority rule but what’s

mindboggling to me is the fact that America is a country of that was built by mixed immigrants

so one would think the majority is a combination of all people.

Where would we be as a society? Would we still be separated? Would our privacy be violated

and our bodies regulated by the government. Without civil liberties and civil rights we wouldn’t

have experienced the March on Washington. Making history by electing a biracial president or

the cracking of the glass ceiling by Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. As an African American

and a woman I have great respect for both civil liberties and rights. Realizing how grateful we

are to have them I also realize that we take them for granted while others are still fighting for

what’s right. Although there are some rights that still needs to be ratified.

The most important amendments to me would be as follows:

1.1st amendment – it guarantees freedoms of religion, speech, writing and publishing, and

peaceful assembly. In addition it requires a wall of separation be maintained between church and

2. 13th Amendment – Ratified almost immediately after the end of the Civil War, this abolished slavery in the United States, removing Americas original sin and fundamentally changing the nation’s character. Without this, the United States would have lacked the moral gravitas to act as a force for civil rights around the world. 3. 14th Amendment – Makes the citizenship of former slaves part of the constitution, removing any potential legal challenges or to deny the benefits of freedom to...
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