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Civil Rights and Liberties

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Civil Rights and Liberties

After attaining independence from the British, the United States held a convention in
1787 that was meant to draft a constitution that would enclose all the rules that would govern the
country. The constitution was successfully approved and the United States formed its governance
under President George Washington. The constitution guarantees the US citizens certain
freedoms and rights to ensure they are protected against any form of oppression or discrimination
by the government or any other person who seem to be powerful politically or economically
(Abraham & Perry, 1982). Civil liberties are particular rights which are not alienable that are
retained by the US citizens under the constitution as understood by the United States Supreme
Court and other low government law judicial institutions.

Civil liberties are legally and constitutionally protected privileges. After independence,
the drafted and later approved constitution denied some citizens certain rights and to an extent
favored others. For instance segregation and discrimination that was race based was rampant and
participation in particular democratic exercises such as voting during an election were allowed to
certain individuals. Only the white men who owned property were eligible to vote and almost 60
percent of the slaveholders retained slavery for a continuous eight-year period after the approval
of the constitution (Abraham & Perry, 1982). The civil liberties are entitled in the Bill of Rights
and they include freedom of speech, freedom of worship and religion, sexual freedom and equal
protection that bar the state from drafting and approving laws that discriminate a certain group of

On the other hand, civil rights are actions that are legally taken by the government to
ensure the creation of equitable environment and conditions for all citizens. For example, the
constitution guarantees all citizens protection under the law as per the fourteenth Amendment.
Thus this makes all United States citizens qualified for participating in a voting exercise and the
government intervenes by enforcing that right (Abraham & Perry, 1982). Other rights include the
right to be freed of discrimination in employment areas that is based on religion, gender, race,
disability or age. Besides, all citizens are entitled and guaranteed of equal access to quality health
care services.

Protection of civil rights and liberties is fundamental to the political values of America,
despite the process undergoing through a hill climb to be achieved. The government has been
faced with challenges in approving certain liberties and rights since while protecting a certain
individuals right may lead to violating of anothers right. For instance, some of the liberties have
taken long since independence and are being involved in court cases with no solid ruling made
for example the same gender marriage which is controversial till today (Abraham & Perry,
1982). Frequent amendments are being made in the Congress that is aimed at protecting the
minorities and also including them in decision-making processes. For example, all the citizens
are entitled to an equal trial during a case and a right to accessing an attorney and are also
eligible to vote unlike in the past.

Moreover, the several cases that involve individuals trying to brush closely with the law
in courts have been essential in redefining the American civil rights and liberties. However,
various state governments have their set laws and are in a continuous process of amending other

laws that protect their citizens (Abraham & Perry, 1982). This move in conjunction with the
federal government, the congress, non-governmental organizations, activists, policymakers and
the law courts continually improve the constitution with regard to protecting the US citizens.
However, speedy movements are required to ensure all races and classes of people enjoy the
same liberties and rights with minimum or no oppression.


Abraham, H. J., & Perry, B. A. (1982). Freedom and the court: civil rights and liberties in the
United States (p. 10). New York: Oxford University Press.