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Know The Enormous Difference Between Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

The good news is that in America you enjoy both civil liberties and civil rights. Every democratic government provides these privileges. What is surprising is that civil liberties are specific rights to protect you from an overreaching government. Versus civil rights are where your government protects you from discrimination. This article on civil rights and liberties provides you a short history of these privileges, definitions, how you can tell the difference, and examples.

America, the Land of Both Civil Liberties and of Civil Rights.

Difference Between Civil Liberties and Civil Rights - Dr. King speaks

Immediately after the Civil War all Americans were afforded both civil rights and civil liberties, at least on paper, with the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868. Civil liberties in America has always existed, embodied in the Bill of Rights in 1791, with the founding of the United States. Only with the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s were all Americans empowered by the civil rights and civil liberties that we enjoy today.

America has truly gone through a revolutionary period where we have obtained a level of human rights that few countries or peoples have achieved either in the present day or in the history of the world. See The Center Square’s Op-Ed: Without civil rights, we have no civil liberties for more on America’s progress in regard to both civil liberties and civil rights.

“We want all of our rights, we want them here, and we want them now.”

Dr. Martin Luther King

Distinguishing The Difference Between Civil Liberties and Civil Rights.

Civil liberties and rights are both guaranteed and protected by the U.S. Government. Civil liberties are protections against government actions and tyranny. Both civil liberties and civil rights are advanced in democratic countries where the Government serves the people. Civil liberties are specific protections against government tyranny. Civil rights, in contrast, refer to positive actions the government should take to create equal conditions for all citizens.

What are Specific Civil Liberties and Civil Rights?

1. List of Civil Liberties.

In the U.S. civil liberties  are basic freedoms and rights that are guaranteed either by the Bill of Rights in the Constitution or by interpretations of those rights by the legislature or courts. Civil liberties in the U.S. include all of the following rights:

  • Free speech
  • Religious freedom
  • Freedom to assemble
  • Freedom to petition the government
  • Privacy
  • Right to remain silent
  • Right to be free from unreasonable searches
  • Right to a fair trial
  • Right to marry
  • Right to vote

2. List of Civil Rights.

In the U.S., people may not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Civil rights as we know them today came about with the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. Protections include:

  • Equal access to education
  • Equal access to employment
  • Equal access to public facilities
  • Equal access to housing

See The Legal Institute’s Civil Rights for more on the history of civil liberties and civil rights in America. Also, see PEDIAA’s Difference Between Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

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