Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Essay

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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
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--Woodrow Wilson. Civil Liberties evolved in the United States around 1776 with the conception of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. In 1787, a new U.S. Constitution was established which limited the roles for the President and Congress, but did not yet grant significant power to the Supreme Court. In 1789, the U.S. Bill of Rights was enacted, to protect the natural rights of U.S. citizens from encroachment by the Congress of the U.S., but it is little more than a statement of principles because the Supreme Court had no power to strike down legislation. The first ten amendments to the constitution, the Bill of Rights, set forth our civil liberties. At this point the Bill of Rights applied mainly to the government and not to the individual states, which have their own, separate bills of rights (Dershowitz 205-211). The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religious exercise as well as separation of church and state. The Fourth Amendment protects the privacy and security of the home and personal effects and prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The Fifth through Eighth amendments protect people accused of crime; they guarantee, for example, the right to trial by jury, the right to confront hostile witnesses and to have legal counsel, and the privilege of not testifying against oneself. The Fifth Amendment also contains the general guarantee that no one shall be deprived of life, liberty, or