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The Student Side of the The Challenge of Democracy Site
Updated March 10, 2017

Internet Links for Chapter 15: Order and Civil Liberties

Chapter 15 distinguishes between "civil liberties" and "civil rights," which often are confused. Civil liberties are freedoms of action guaranteed to individuals by restraints on government. For example, freedom of speech means that the government cannot stop people from expressing their views. In contrast, civil rights are powers or privileges guaranteed to people by government. For example, womens' right to equal employment means that government can require companies to hire and pay women comparably to men. Although the first ten amendments to the Constitution are collectively called the "Bill of Rights," they actually guarantee more liberties than rights. The first link addresses that distinction. The others expand on civil liberties.

Civil Liberties
Liberties v. rights
Professor Paul Johnson's glossary of political terms.
Illinois First Amendment Center
Has links to these topics: Commercial Speech, Court Cases,Defamation/Libel, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Petition, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, and Privacy Rights.
American Civil Liberties Union
"The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country." The ACLU is widely regarded as a "liberal" organization.
The CATO Institute
"Founded in 1977, Cato owes its name to Cato's Letters, a series of essays published in 18th- century England that presented a vision of society free from excessive government power. Those essays inspired the architects of the American Revolution. And the simple, timeless principles of that revolution -- individual liberty, limited government, and free markets -- turn out to be even more powerful in today's world of global markets and unprecedented access to more information than Jefferson or Madison could have imagined." The CATO Institute is widely regarded as a "conservative" organization but it is more "libertarian" in our book's usage.
"Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians strive for a free, peaceful, abundant world where each individual has the maximum opportunity to pursue his or her dreams and to realize his full potential."
British History of Civil Liberties
Because the Founding Fathers based the Bill of Rights on their British experience, this is a valuable and eye-opening web site. It states: "Civil liberties are freedoms that are guaranteed to people to protect them from an over-powerful government. Civil liberties are used to limit the power of a coercive government."