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Civil Liberties and Civil Rights in the USA

Every country has a number of institutions to solve different problems and control the actions of citizens. Civil liberties and civil rights are the main instruments of the Constitution. These constitutional principles are presented in the Bill of Rights and are considered to be one of the main means of regulation of collective actions. There are certain differences between civil liberties and civil rights. Civil liberties are a sort of restriction on the actions of the citizens and civil rights are rules controlling the process of decision-making and outcomes. Generally speaking, civil liberties restrict collective actions while civil rights regulate these actions. From the point of view of the government civil rights are a sort of restraint of the power of majorities while civil liberties are limits on the power of the government itself.

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It seems that everything is clear in civil rights and liberties nevertheless there are a lot of questions and contradictions that the government has to solve. For example, the American government has to allow the security agency to sift through a million calls in order to protect their country from terrorism but there are a lot of people who consider such actions to be an intrusion in their private life. It should be noted that the Constitution is written in such a way that many politicians clash over the interpretations of civil rights and liberties. Factually, Congress has the right to adopt the new laws and change the old ones but the Court prevails in these battles and it has the right to consider the laws accepted by Congress to be unconstitutional. Nevertheless, there are exceptions when Congress has the right to limit the power of federal courts. Adoption of any new law is a long and difficult procedure as we may observe from the above said. Over the past centuries, a lot of new laws were adopted which enlarged the civil liberties on the one hand and restricted collective actions on the other hand. These new laws were adopted as the result of long struggles between Congress and the Court.

When the first Congress under the new Constitution met in April of 1789 to adopt the Bill of Rights there were a lot of disagreements. Many politicians considered this bill to be the restriction of the power of the government itself. The majority of them did not understand the necessity of this bill and James Madison was among them. Despite all controversies and struggles the Bill of Rights was adopted. There are two categories in the Bill of Rights namely civil liberties and civil rights.

Civil liberties are defined as means of protection of the citizens from the improper power of the government. The Bill of Rights is considered to be guaranteed protection that may be used by every citizen against any government. The Bill of Rights is often called the Bill of liberties as far as it is based on the amendments about what the government should not do.

Civil rights are defined as obligations of the government to protect citizens from discrimination and guarantee equality among people. Civil rights have not been a part of the Constitution till 1868 when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted. The Bill of Rights has not been used as a vital instrument of the extension of civil liberties for everyone as far as it has not protected anyone from the state laws treating people as property. This situation has been changed after a bloody civil war and the revolutionary Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment provides single national citizenship. The adoption of this Amendment guarantees that civil liberties must not change drastically from state to state. This Amendment extends the Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech was included in the list of civil liberties in 1925, the freedom of the press was added in 1931, the freedom of religion was included in 1934 and the freedom of assembly was added in 1939. This process of one-by-one applications of the constituents of the Bill of Rights is known as selective incorporation. The general status of civil liberties is not considered to be stable and permanent as far as they restrict the power of government and they are the subject for discussions.

Civil rights have become a part of the Constitution since 1868 when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted. This Amendment guarantees equal rights to ethnic minorities, women and people with disabilities. It provides equal protection of the laws which is known as the equal protection clause. This clause is the core for the civil rights of African Americans, women and other groups. The Fourteenth Amendment is based on the doctrine “separate but equal” which means the equality of civil rights for everyone despite their race, culture and religion.

From the above said we may conclude that civil liberties and civil rights are the burning issues for the United States. Civil liberties are always discussed by the government as far as they are used as the restriction of their power while civil rights are put on the agenda as far as the problem of political, social and economic inequality is still unsolved in the USA.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 15). Civil Liberties and Civil Rights in the USA. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/civil-liberties-and-civil-rights-in-the-usa/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 15). Civil Liberties and Civil Rights in the USA. https://studycorgi.com/civil-liberties-and-civil-rights-in-the-usa/

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"Civil Liberties and Civil Rights in the USA." StudyCorgi, 15 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/civil-liberties-and-civil-rights-in-the-usa/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Civil Liberties and Civil Rights in the USA." January 15, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/civil-liberties-and-civil-rights-in-the-usa/.


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StudyCorgi. "Civil Liberties and Civil Rights in the USA." January 15, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/civil-liberties-and-civil-rights-in-the-usa/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Civil Liberties and Civil Rights in the USA." January 15, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/civil-liberties-and-civil-rights-in-the-usa/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Civil Liberties and Civil Rights in the USA'. 15 January.

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