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U.S. Government Ii (PLS 212) Chapter 4 Notes - Civil Liberties

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Sandra Watson
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Northern Virginia Community College

U.S. Government Ii (PLS 212)

the limits placed on government so that people can freely exercise their rights are called

Chapter 4 : Civil Liberties
 Civil Liberties – the limits placed on government so that people can freely exercise
their rights
 The Rise of Civil Liberties
o Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
 Civil rights – the freedom to participate in the full life of the community
– to vote, use public facilities, and exercise equal economic
opportunity.
 Civil liberties require government action to help secure individual
rights; civil liberties restrict government action to protect individual
rights.
 Until people have wo their rights and the idea of protecting them is
meaningless
 When the governments enforce civil rights for some people, they often
limit the liberty of others.
o The Slow Rise of Rights
 The first amendment begins, “Congress shall make no law” prohibiting
the exercise of religion or restricting speech
 The Bill of Rights eventually reached the states thanks to the quest for
civil rights
 Selective Incorporation – extending protections from the Bill of Rights
to the state governments, one right at a time
o The Supreme Court neatly defined civil liberties in 1943: the Bill of Rights
withdraws certain subjects from political controversy and places them beyond
the reach of majorities and officials
o The Bill of Rights did not apply to the states until the 14th amendment required
that no state could deprive any citizen of life, liberty or property
o The court applied the Bill of Rights to the states one right at a time between
1897 (no taking of property without compensation) and 2010 (the right to bear
arms)
 Privacy
o Penumbras and Emanations
 The penumbras – literally, the shadows – of the First Amendment
create “zones of privacy” in which people have a right to make their
own choices free from government interference
o The court discovered a right to privacy implicit in the shadows of the 1st, 3rd,
4th, 5th and 9th amendment.

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U.S. Government Ii (PLS 212) Chapter 4 Notes - Civil Liberties

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