Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Civil Liberties
(And how they differ from civil rights)
"If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own. If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free. If in other lands the eternal truths of the past are threatened by intolerance, we must provide a safe place for their perpetuation." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1938 (Isaacs 66)

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to be free from unreasonable searches of your home, the right to a fair trial, the right to marry, and the right to vote are all examples of Civil Liberties that every American is guaranteed under the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Fundamental individual rights protected by law against unwarranted governmental or other interference. Civil liberties generally refer more specifically to the protection of the individual's rights to form and express his or her own preferences or convictions and to act freely upon them in the private sphere without undue or intrusive interference by the government. "Only the government can violate your civil liberties"(Kennedy) My textbook, America At Odds, defines Civil Rights as "The rights of all Americans to equal treatment under the law, as provided for by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution" (75). The Civil Rights Act, which was passed in 1964, protects people from private acts of discrimination in regards to housing, education, and employment. The terms civil liberties and civil rights are similar in that they are vital factors in creating a democratic society. Because we are guaranteed these liberties and rights, we are in turn able to keep this democratic society in existence. Civil liberties and rights differ in how they need to be protected. Civil liberties need protection "from" the government. They have to be secure so that the government cannot invade them and take them away...

References: 1. Dershowitz, Alan M. Shouting fire: civil liberties in a turbulent age. Boston: Little, Brown, 2002: 205-211
2. Garey, Diane. Defending everybody: a history of the American Civil Liberties Union. New York: TV Books, 1998: 54-56
3. Henschen, Beth, and Sidlow, Edward. America At Odds. 4th edition. Belmont: Thomson-Wadsworth, 2004: 75-95
4. Isaacs, Sally S. America in the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: the story of our nation from coast to coast, from 1929 to 1948, Des Plaines, Heinemann Library, 2000: 65-87
5. Kennedy, Shelia S. Difference between civil rights and civil liberties
6. Lamont, Corliss. Freedom is as freedom does; civil liberties today. Civil liberties in American History. New York, Da Copo Press, 1972: 198-225
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