What are Civil Liberties?
Civil liberties are the freedoms and rights enjoyed by individuals in a given society that aim to provide a citizen (of a particular jurisdiction) with the ability to freely express themselves and create a sense of individuality.
Civil liberties incorporate specific rights such as the right to life, freedom from slavery, freedom from torture, the right to liberty and security, the right to a fair trial, the right to defend one’s self, the right to privacy, the right to be free from forced labor, the right to obtain freedom of conscience, the ability to freely assemble and associate, the freedom of expression, and the right to marry and subsequently start a family. T
These rights, which are the basic civil liberties of a generic jurisdiction, will vary based on the governing authorities established in various countries or regions of the world. The delivery of civil liberties will differentiate based on jurisdiction; the existence of civil liberties as well as the extent of most civil rights, is a widely disputed matter. Controversial examples of common civil liberties include: property rights, civil marriage, reproductive rights and the right to keep and use firearms.
Establishment of Civil Liberties:
In addition to the aforementioned rights, civil liberties also include other freedoms, such as the freedom of religion, the ability to freely speak, the right to acquire or own property and additionally, the right to due process, including the right to a trial.
The concept of civil liberties originated through the drafting of the Magna Carta in 1215, which restored powers to the individual and limited the authority of the King. Contemporarily, many states in America have affirmed the delivery of civil liberties to its citizens through the drafting of a bill of rights (found in the individual state’s constitution) or similar documents that will enumerate the guarantee of civil liberties.
These civil liberties were widely based off the drafting of the United States’ constitution, which revolutionized the delivery of civil liberties and the ability to effectively balance the powers between the state governments, the federal government and the individual citizen.
The United States Constitution and Civil Liberties:
The United States Constitution—more specifically the document’s Bill of Rights—is the foundation for the delivery and subsequent protection of civil liberties in the United States. Civil liberties in the United States refer to all privileges and immunities held by all American citizens; civil liberties are held separate from political rights, which refer to the ability to participate in elections as either voters or candidates.
The Bill of Rights is comprised of the first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution; these Amendments guarantee an individual with basic civil liberties that shall not be infringed upon at the hands of any of the government bodies within the United States. As a result of this characteristic, all Americans enjoy these civil liberties throughout their day-to-day lives.