American Civil Liberties Essay

2269 words - 9 pages

Terrorists attacks in America should not reduce or take away civil liberties because it unnecessarily increases government power, gives a false state of security, and goes against the concepts of liberty on which the United States was founded. In order to understand why these three things are important we must determine what are civil liberties.
According to Wikipedia, “Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that protect an individual from the state” (Wikipedia, 2010). Why would we need protection from the state? The intent of civil liberties is to “set limits on the government so that its agents cannot abuse their power and interfere unduly with the lives of private citizens” (Wikipedia, 2010). Civil liberties are protected through the Bill of Rights. The Declaration of Independence declares a strong human rights statement with “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” With so many documents about liberty and rights it’s hard to imagine those rights being abused or taken away by the government who is supposed to protect those rights.
In September 2001, the United States fell prey to terrorist attacks that resulted in loss of property, loss of lives, and loss or reduction of what many belief to be basic rights and liberties. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), as a result of the terrorist attacks on 9-11, the Bush administration began a serious attack on civil liberties. The ACLU argues that the government has abused its power through “Warrant-less wiretapping, torture, kidnapping, and detention, the growing surveillance society, abuse of the Patriot Act, government secrecy, real ID, no fly and selectee lists, political spying, abuse of material witness statute, and attacks on academic freedom” in an article entitled “Top Ten Abuses of Power Since 9/11” (ACLU, 2006). Some citizens, including the late Senator Ted Kennedy as well as some children, have been placed on the no fly list and it’s almost impossible to be removed from this list. Spying on other countries is something that most, if not all countries do. But spying on U.S citizens in another matter and is considered unconstitutional. Glen Greenwald states in his online article, New Target of Rights Erosion, basically the people or citizens provide the check on government and “Vesting political leaders with oppressive domestic authority uniquely empowers them to avoid accountability and deter dissent” (Greenwald). Abuse of power is nothing new in any country.
Since its formative years, the United States has seen even the greatest of men seemingly abuse power. Even Abraham Lincoln, who stated in his Gettysburg Address “of the people, for the people, by the people” in reference to the government, removed the right of habeas corpus during the civil war. Habeas corpus is legal action that...

Find Another Essay On American Civil Liberties

American Civil Liberties are NOT Violated by the Patriot Act

2131 words - 9 pages American Civil Liberties are NOT Violated by the Patriot Act As we face the threat of terrorism, how do we protect ourselves without hurting our freedoms? Today, terrorism is a major threat to our homeland security and has become increasingly more prevalent and difficult to monitor with the public's accessibility to communication and information through today's technology. Terrorists are now able to communicate more freely

The War on Terrorism is an Attack on American Civil Liberties

832 words - 3 pages The War on Terrorism is an Attack on American Civil Liberties After the attacks on 9/11 our country has been forced to confront the issue of terrorism.  The war on terrorism has ignited a war on our civil liberties.  Our civil liberties have been affected by the passing of the Patriot Act, the violation of privacy, and an increase in racial profiling. Civil liberties have been affected immensely by the Patriot Act.  A brief definition of

The American Civil Liberties Union and its Positive Impact on Society

1007 words - 4 pages With the exception of the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) appears before the U.S. Supreme Court more than any other organization. The ACLU defends the freedoms of any citizen of the United States, even prisoners. Regardless of race, religion, age, or gender, the ACLU defends anyone whose rights were violated. The organization has made a lot of process since it formed in 1920. Before the ACLU became involved

Legality of the Patriot Act - A Theft of Civil Liberties or The Protection Of American Life

4600 words - 18 pages threat of terrorism which had taken root on Sept. 11th (ACLU: The USA PATRIOT Act). The passing of the Patriot Act has generated intense and heated debate among advocates for individual rights as well as those who believe in strict interpretation of the Constitution. Several prominent and prevalent groups, formed to protect the individual right of the American public, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and People For the American Way

American civil liberties are defined as civil rights designed with the purpose of limiting government intervention in citizen’s affairs (Civil Lib

1113 words - 5 pages American civil liberties are defined as civil rights designed with the purpose of limiting government intervention in citizen’s affairs (Civil Liberties 1). After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the United States government enacted new policies that did not universally coincide with the civil liberties Americans are guaranteed. Several of the new procedures enacted were unnecessary and caused average

Civil Liberties

1564 words - 6 pages From the beginning, the United States Constitution has guaranteed the American people civil liberties. These liberties have given citizens rights to speak, believe, and act freely. The Constitution grants citizens the courage to express their mind about something they believe is immoral or unjust. The question is, how far are citizens willing to extend the meanings of these liberties? Some people believe that American citizens take advantage

Civil Liberties

1223 words - 5 pages terrorist attacks. “Clearly this is not a simple, normal criminal case. This is an act of war, and those rules of warfare may apply. But here at home and domestically, we need to make sure that we’re not tempted to abrogate any civil rights such as habeas corpus, protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, the freedom of expression and peaceable assembly, or freedom of religion.” Sources Cited: 1. www.aclu.org, The American Civil Liberties Union, 2001 2. www.corpwatch.org, CorpWatch, 2001 3. www.msnbc.com, MSNBC Terms and Conditions, 2001

Civil Liberties

527 words - 2 pages Civil Liberties are the freedoms people have a right to in a society. The idea of civil liberties is embedded in the Bill of Rights. The Bills Of Rights are the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments deal with basic liberties such as freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and the press, protection against self-incrimination in a legal proceeding, unreasonable search and seizure, and cruel and unusual punishment, and the

Civil Liberties

1916 words - 8 pages allotted to American citizens that a lot of other countries do not have. Like other civil liberties, defendants’ rights are not clearly defined in the Bill of Rights. Just how speedy is a “speedy” trial? How “cruel and unusual” must a punishment be to violate the Eight Amendment? Legal search and seizures are the first step in protecting individuals’ rights. Police must have a reason, probable cause, to believe that a person should be arrested or their

Civil Liberties and Rights

778 words - 4 pages Since the beginning of American history, citizens who resided the country lacked the basic civil rights and liberties that humans deserved. Different races and ethnicities were treated unfairly. Voting rights were denied to anyone who was not a rich, white male. Women were harassed by their bosses and expected to take care of everything household related. Life was not all that pretty throughout America’s past, but thankfully overtime American

Limiting of Civil Liberties

1005 words - 4 pages Should the Government Limit Individual Liberties During Wartime?Since the construction of the constitution, there have been discrepancies about it's boundaries. Specifically, when it comes to limitations of our civil liberties. Many cases have gone through the supreme courts pertaining to just this subject, from very large cases i.e. Korematsu vs. United States (arguing the constitutionality of FDR's executive order 9066) to the free speech

Similar Essays

A.C.L.U. American Civil Liberties Form Essay

545 words - 2 pages rights limits that authority.The American Civil Liberties Union is the nation's foremost advocate of individual rights. The ACLU is concentrated in litigating, legislating, and educating the public on many issues affecting the individual freedom in the United States. The ACLU is not a public defender like Legal Services or Public Aid. It does not handle criminal cases or civil disputes. They are neither liberal or conservative, Republican or

The American Civil Liberties Union (Aclu)

713 words - 3 pages Where do you go if someone is threatening your personal rights? Do yougo to the police, or maybe to the government? What if the police andgovernment are the parties threatening your rights? All you have to do is justcall the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). Sounds like a commercialdoesn't it. The ACLU blankets the United States with its legal protection. It isinvolved in so many aspects of the fight for civil liberties that it is difficult

Reno V. American Civil Liberties Union

546 words - 2 pages One of the most significant cases where the government tried to promote uniformity was Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, where the issues were free speech broadcasted over the internet. The statue that had to be interoperated is the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which seeks to protect minors from harmful material on the internet. Reno tried to argue that the act was being violated. She sourced to provisions in the docket, which were the

American Civil Liberties: Do Americans Have Enough Protections For Civil Liberties, Or Not?

1742 words - 7 pages American Civil Liberties: Do Americans have enough protections for Civil Liberties, or not?   In a world where terrorism, war, and economic instability are ever looming threats it’s not a wonder why the limits on the freedom of the individual can come into question. This is especially true when the country where these limits are brought into question is one of the world’s leading powers in: democracy, economics, social welfare, military