Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Topics: Civil Liberties

You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to vote. You have the right to privacy. Majority of Americans are familiar with these rights but many do not understand the difference between these civil liberties and civil rights. The aforementioned are civil liberties.

Civil liberties are basic rights and freedoms that are guaranteed. These are identified in the Bill of Right and the Constitution or through legislatures. One such liberty is The First Amendment: provides that Congress make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise.

It protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ( This allows for people, and the press to speak freely and criticize whomever they chose without any repercussions from the government as they would in communist and/or socialist countries. The current administration seems to have taken issue with mainstream media. He has numerous times called media outlets fake news when information was being put out about the investigation into the Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.

There was a time when the president wanted the senate intel committee to investigate news networks for what he deemed as made up stories being put out. It was a small attempt to censor the press from a tweet where he says: “Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!” Had he really pushed the issue on the press/media he would have been in direct violation of the first amendment.

Get quality help now
Marrie pro writer

Proficient in: Civil Liberties

5 (204)

“ She followed all my directions. It was really easy to contact her and respond very fast as well. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

( While the president doesn’t seem to like any unfavorable news about himself from any source, it is the fundamental reason why the first amendment is in place because it affords him the opportunity to freely say or tweet statements like how he did on the Don Lemon CNN interview with Lebron James where he said: “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!” ( As disparaging as that statement is coming from a sitting president, it is the perfect example of the first amendment.

Another liberty to discuss is the Right to assemble peacefully. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the United States Congress from enacting legislation that would abridge the right of the people to assemble peaceably. ( Since the election of the current president there have been unprecedented numbers of protests throughout the country. Whether it had been for social injustices, women’s rights, immigration reform or political/social affiliations, it is because of these liberties that this can occur. One such protest that should have been peaceful but turned deadly is the Unite the Right rally. It was a rally in Charlottesville VA in August of 2017 where white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazi, alt-right individuals were coming together to protest the removal of confederate monuments throughout the country. It culminated when protestors clashed with counter-protestors where many were injured and there was one fatality of a counter-protestor named Heather Heyer who was struck and killed by a car that was purposely driven into the crowd by a neo-Nazi by the name of James Alex Fields Jr. There’s a plan to have another rally this year in Washington DC. Hundreds of white nationalists will gather in Lafayette Square on Sunday to mark the one-year anniversary of last August’s controversial Charlottesville rally. Jason Kessler, a prominent white nationalist, is organizing the rally, which begins with a march at 5 p.m. and continues with speakers in Lafayette Square from 5:30 to 7:30. Kessler had originally hoped to rally in Charlottesville again, and when his permit request was denied by the city government, he challenged the decision in court. On July 24, he withdrew the request. (

In our democratic society, mass media is the driving force of public opinion. Media sources, for example, Web, newspaper, broadcast new, and so on, assume critical parts in forming a person’s understanding and discernment about events that happen in our everyday lives. As long as the newspapers, internet, network television, etc, continued to be easily accessible to the public, the media will keep on having an impact in molding its conclusions. Factors such as agenda-setting, framing and priming help shape the public opinions. Research performed over the years have indicated that media methods such as agenda-setting, priming, and framing are important factors in influencing and shaping of public opinion. One recent media coverage event was the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their protest a pipeline that was planned to cross four states in order to ship crude oil across these states, where it can be shipped to refineries. They had argued that the project would contaminate drinking water and damage sacred burial sites. ( Because of the intense media coverage thousands of people including several celebrities joined in the protest.

A decision came after months of protests by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters, who set up a number of spiritual camps – Sacred Stone, Oceti Sakowin, Red Warrior, and Rosebud Sicangu – near the Missouri river to suspend the project. The Trump administration directed the Corps to move forward with pipeline construction in early 2017, which encouraged local activists to more aggressively pursue energy independence. Approximately 55,000 acres of forest and agricultural land were destroyed at Standing Rock and about one-third of its residents were displaced. Despite promising to do so, the Army Corps of Engineers never replaced the infrastructure it destroyed (such as roads, water systems, schools and community facilities), nor did the Standing Rock Sioux receive the compensation the Corps promised in the form of a share of the hydropower the dam created. Instead, Standing Rock residents pay some of the highest electricity rates in the region ― as high as $1,000 a month, while 40 percent of the population lives below the federal poverty line. Now a group of Standing Rock activists and innovators is working to move the reservation off the existing electric grid and onto 100 percent renewable energy as part of the “Green The Rez” campaign. The goal of Green the Rez is to implement a regulatory mandate for statewide renewable energy portfolio standards of 50 percent by 2030 for North and South Dakota, which the reservations cross. Phyllis Young, a former Standing Rock Tribal Council member, and other activists are also starting to speak with attorneys about how to get compensation and regain 20,000 acres of riverbed. In 2017, MIT Media Lab honored Young as a finalist for its “Disobedience Award,” which recognizes disobedience for the benefit of society. (

Another event in history was the Vietnam War. In 1965, Americans were largely supportive. Fully 64 percent believed that America was right to send troops to Vietnam and only 21 percent disagreed. These numbers did not change dramatically until May 1966, when the percentage of Americans who saw the Vietnam War as “a mistake” jumped ten points, likely due to increasing casualties. The polls fluctuated over the next year but showed increasing disenchantment with the war. Americans were shocked to see Marines battling Vietcong commandos for the U.S. embassy in Saigon, the center of the American presence in Vietnam. A now-famous photo of a South Vietnamese general executing a Vietcong prisoner forced Americans to question their allies. CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite reported that the U.S. was “mired in stalemate.” This may not seem devastating today, but there is simply no one Americans trust today like they trusted Walter Cronkite in 1968. (

The Democratic party, the more liberal of the two parties has always been more progressive with some of its integral values being fighting inequality, raising pay for the middle class, reviving arts and music, educational values and many civil rights causes. With democratic policies, there are usually a focus on healthcare for everyone, raising the minimum wage as well a deep focus on education and based on the principle that all people are created equal. Additionally, there is more emphasis on social issues as a whole. For instance, under the democratic party there was a push for the affordable care act also known as Obamacare What we learned from that was there were a number of people who now have insurance who wouldn’t have had it under other parties because insurance companies were allowed to reject individuals with preexisting conditions.

For everything that the democratic party is, the Republican party is based on fundamental conservative values. A majority of the values are based on religion and faith believe that taxes should be lowered wherever they are show to stunt the growth of the economy. The most controversial of all of their values is the right to life debate, because of the religious basis of many of the party’s constituent’s there is a belief that there shouldn’t be abortions or that they should be limited therefore many of their policies aim to defund many of the social programs that the democrats enact.


  1. Caron, C. (2018, August 4). Trump mocks LeBron James’s intelligence. Retrieved from NY Times:
  2. Graham, D. A. (2017, October 5). Trump wants to censor the press. Retrieved from The Atlantic:
  3. Hillesheim, J. (2017, August 4). How the Media Shapes Public Opinion. Retrieved from Rewire:
  4. Library of Congress. (2016, August 24). Right to Peaceful Assembly. Retrieved from
  5. Sainato, M. (2018, July 12). Standing Rock Activists Want To Green The Rez. Retrieved from Huffington Post:
  6. Simon, C. (2018, August 10). Unite the Right 2018. Retrieved from
  7. The White House. (2018, August 11). The Constitution . Retrieved from

Cite this page

Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. (2022, Apr 28). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7