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[[Image:LBJMLK.jpg|thumb|250px|right|[[Lyndon B. Johnson|President Johnson]] signs the [[Civil Rights Act of 1964]].]]
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[[Image:Lyndon Johnson signing Civil Rights Act, 2 July, 1964.jpg|thumb|right|Lyndon B. Johnson signs the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964.]]
'''Civil rights''' are the protections and privileges of personal liberty given to all citizens by law. Civil rights are distinguished from "[[human rights]]" or "[[natural rights]]"—civil rights are rights that are bestowed by nations on those within their territorial boundaries, while natural or human rights are rights that many scholars claim ought to belong to all people. For example, the philosopher [[John Locke]] ([[1632]]–[[1704]]) argued that the natural rights of [[life]], [[liberty]] and [[property]] should be converted into civil rights and protected by the [[sovereignty|sovereign]] [[state]] as an aspect of the [[social contract]]. Others have argued that people acquire rights as an [[inalienable rights|inalienable]] gift from the deity or at a time of [[State of nature|nature]] before governments were formed.
 
   
Laws guaranteeing civil rights may be written, derived from [[custom (law)|custom]] or implied. In the [[United States]] and most continental [[Europe]]an counties, civil rights laws are most often written. In the United States, for example, laws protecting civil rights appear in the [[United States Constitution|Constitution]], in the amendments to the Constitution (particularly the 13th and 14th Amendments), in federal [[statute]]s, in state constitutions and statutes and even in the ordinances of counties and cities. In the [[United Kingdom]], on the other hand, such rights are frequently granted by custom and are not memorialized in written law. "Implied" rights are rights that a court may find to exist even though not expressly guaranteed by written law or custom, on the theory that a written or customary right must necessarily include the implied right. One famous (and controversial) example of a right implied from the U.S. Constitution is the "right to [[privacy]]", which the [[United States Supreme Court|U.S. Supreme Court]] found to exist in the [[1965]] case of ''[[Griswold v. Connecticut]]''. In the [[1973]] case of ''[[Roe v. Wade]]'', the Court found that state legislation prohibiting or limiting abortion violated this right to privacy.
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[[Image:Lyndon Johnson meeting with civil rights leaders.jpg|thumb|right|Lyndon B. Johnson meets with civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, James Farmer]]
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{{Discrimination}}
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'''Civil rights''' refers to two related but different terms. In [[civil law]] jurisdictions, a civil right is a right or power which can be exercised under civil law, which includes things such as the ability to contract. In civil law jurisdictions, lawsuits between private parties for things such as breach of contract or a tort are usually expressed in terms of infringement of a civil right. For example, Article 2 of the Contract Law of the People's Republic of China defines a contract as "an agreement establishing, modifying and terminating the civil rights and obligations between subjects of equal footing".
   
State governments can expand civil rights beyond the U.S. Constitution, but they cannot diminish Constitutional rights. For example, some American cities make it illegal to discriminate against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation, thus expanding the civil rights of homosexuals; however, cities which create school districts in such a way that the districts discriminate against students on the basis of their race will have injunctions entered against them by the federal courts. States frequently grant civil rights in excess of federal law, such as Article 21 of the [[Maryland Constitution]], which requires that a jury be unanimous in order to convict a person of a crime.
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In common law jurisdiction, the term civil right is distinguished from "[[human rights]]" or "[[natural rights]]". Civil rights are rights that are bestowed by [[nations]] on those within their territorial boundaries, while natural or human rights are rights that many scholars claim that individuals have by nature of being born. For example, the philosopher John Locke ([[1632]]–[[1704]]) argued that the natural rights of [[life]], [[liberty]] and [[property]] should be converted into civil rights and protected by the sovereign state as an aspect of the [[social contract]]. Others have argued that people acquire rights as an inalienable gift from a deity (such as God) or at a time of nature before governments were formed.
   
Examples of civil rights and liberties include the right to get redress if injured by another, the right to privacy, the right of peaceful protest, the right to a fair investigation and trial if suspected of a crime, and more generally-based constitutional rights such as the [[suffrage|right to vote]], the right to personal freedom, the [[right to life]], the right to freedom of movement and anti-[[discrimination]] laws. As civilisations emerged and formalised through written constitutions, some of the more important civil rights were granted to [[citizen]]s. When those grants were later found inadequate, '''civil rights movements''' emerged as the vehicle for claiming more [[equal protection]] for all citizens and advocating new laws to restrict the effect of current discriminations.
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Laws guaranteeing civil rights may be written down,or falsely stated; derived from [[custom (law)|custom]] or implied. In the United States and most continental European countries, civil rights laws are most often written. Examples of civil rights and liberties include the right to get redress if injured by another, the right to privacy, the right of peaceful protest, the right to a fair investigation and trial if suspected of a crime, and more generally-based constitutional rights such as the [[suffrage|right to vote]], the right to personal freedom, the right to freedom of movement and the right of equal protection. As civilizations emerged and formalized through written constitutions, some of the more important civil rights were granted to citizens. When those grants were later found inadequate, '''[[civil rights movement]]s''' emerged as the vehicle for claiming more [[equal protection]] for all citizens and advocating new laws to restrict the effect of current discriminations.
   
Civil rights can in one sense refer to the equal treatment of all citizens irrespective of race, sex, or other [[class (social)|class]], or it can refer to laws which invoke claims of [[positive liberty]]. An example of the former would be the decision in [[Brown v. Board of Education]] 347 U.S. 483 (1954) which was concerned with the constitutionality of laws which imposed segregation in the education systems of some U.S states. The theories set out below explain why such laws should not be considered legitimate, but do not explain why the case failed to declare the general principle that all manifestations of segregation were a breach of civil rights (that would be more properly a question of politics). The U.S. legislature subsequently addressed the issue through the [[Civil Rights Act of 1964]] Sec. 201. which states: (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin. Some other countries have enacted similar legislation, or have given [[direct effect]] to [[supranationalism|supranational]] [[treaty|treaties]] and agreements such as the [[European Convention on Human Rights]] (with forty-five countries as signatories), which encompass both human rights and civil liberties.
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==Theoretical background: The concept of rights==
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[[Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld]] ([[1879]]–[[1918]]) maintained that [[wiktionary:Analysis|analysis]] of legal issues is frequently muddled and inconsistent because the legal concepts are improperly understood. The first question, therefore, is to understand what the ''rights'' are in "civil rights". There are two major schools of thought:
==Related terminology==
 
The term 'civil rights' is often used synonymously with [[civil liberties]], even though theoretical [[jurisprudence]] distinguishes between right and liberty (see below: [[Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld|Hohfeld]]). The root of the word 'civil' reflects the association between a bundle of rights and 'citizenship'. The term [[Human rights]] refers to a broader concept.<br>
 
 
In the early legal systems of [[Ancient Rome]],women and slaves had no right to vote whether as a juror or for political purposes, and ownership of property was an aspect of ''patria potestas'', i.e. only the father of the family could own property, his wife, relatives and children having no right of ownership. Similarly, the mediaeval European city-states limited access to the [[status]] of citizenship and the civil rights associated with it. This practice of dividing societies by reference to [[Social class|class]] or [[caste]] associates [[privilege]] with the upper layers of society and means that civil rights attach to people by virute of their [[citizenship]] of a [[state]]. <br>
 
 
Today, in most western societies, it is taken for granted that ''every person'' has a number of rights and freedoms, which are [[Value (personal and cultural)|valued]] deeply, closely associated to the modern concept of [[democracy]] and supported by [[public policy (law)|public policy]]. Civil rights are claimed to be the pillars of modern societies. Nevertheless, it is [[domicile (law)|domicile]] that attaches to an individual at birth, regardless of such factors as race, gender or class, and determines status and capacity. As each individual moves from state to state, the extent of the civil rights to be enjoyed will be determined by the interaction between the domicile of origin, and the cultures and laws of those states in which that person resides as a citizen. <br>
 
 
The term [[human rights]] is not limited to citizenship of one state and reflects the concept of ''fundamental rights that all human beings can claim''. Whereas 'civil rights', 'civil liberties' and 'constitutional rights' are used to denote expectations as to behaviour and treatment by fellow citizens in any one [[sovereignty|sovereign]] state, 'human rights' is more often used in the context of [[international law]], the supranational systems of law that may or may not have direct effect in sovereign states depending on the treaties signed by each state and the nature of their legal systems. Human rights include civil rights. The term may also refer to the rights of refugees and the problems of statelessness; however, the debate on the extent of fundamental human rights is much broader subject. [[Jurist]] [[Karel Vasak]], for example, discusses a right to peace and the right to a clean environment as fundamental human rights.
 
 
==Theoretical background: The concept of right==
 
[[Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld]] ([[1879]]&ndash;[[1918]]) maintained that [[analysis]] of legal issues is frequently muddled and inconsistent because the legal concepts are improperly understood. The first question, therefore, is to understand what the ''rights'' are in "civil rights". There are two major schools of thought:
 
 
* Hohfeld proposed a structured system of interrelated concepts
 
* Hohfeld proposed a structured system of interrelated concepts
* Nozick and Rawls approached the concept of rights from the perspectives of libertarian and political belief.
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* Nozick and Rawls approached the concept of rights from the perspectives of libertarian and Logical belief.
   
===Hohfeld's concept of right===
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==Implied rights==
Hohfeld distinguished ''right'' from ''[[liberty]]'', and ''[[Power (sociology)|power]]'' from ''[[immunity]]''&mdash;concepts that are often used interchangeably in non-technical discourse, but are philosophically different. By examining the relationships between these concepts, he hoped to explain the legal interests that have evolved in the real world of civil society and to answer the question whether citizens of a state have any right to access any of the possible forms of [[social security]].
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"Implied" rights are rights that a court may find to exist even though not expressly guaranteed by written law or custom, on the theory that a written or customary right must necessarily include the implied right. One famous (and controversial) example of a right implied from the U.S. Constitution is the "right to [[privacy]]", which the [[United States Supreme Court|U.S. Supreme Court]] found to exist in the [[1965]] case of ''[[Griswold v. Connecticut]]''. In the [[1973]] case of ''[[Roe v. Wade]]'', the court found that state legislation prohibiting or limiting abortion violated this right to privacy. As a rule, state governments can expand civil rights beyond the U.S. Constitution, but they cannot diminish Constitutional rights.
* ''Right'' and ''[[duty]]'' are [[corelative]] concepts, i.e. one must always be matched by the other. If A claims a right against B, this is meaningless unless B has a duty to honour A's right. If B has no duty, that means that B has liberty, i.e. B can do whatever he or she pleases because B has no duty to refrain from doing it, and A has no right to prohibit B from doing so. An individual would be considered to have perfect liberty if no one has a right to prevent the given act.
 
* ''Power'' means the capacity to create [[legal relationship]]s and to create rights and liabilities. The corelative of power is ''[[liability]]''. If A has power over B, B must have liability towards A. For example, properly constituted courts have the power to pass judgements that impose liabilities but, if the defendants are outside the courts' [[jurisdiction]], the judgements are unenforceable. Similarly, a [[legislature]] has power to make laws, but those laws that attempt to restrict a [[fundamental right]] may be unconstitutional. If the laws are valid, they create a [[disability (law)|disability]]; the legal opposite of disability is power. So, children or people suffering from a mental [[disability]] should be protected from ''liability'' and their ''power'' to make a binding [[contract]] is removed. A person loses the right to sue another to recover a debt if the [[period of limitation]] has expired.
 
* The legal opposite of ''liability'' is ''immunity''. In some countries, government departments exercising [[sovereignty|sovereign]] powers cannot be sued in tort and the President or the Prime Minister cannot be personally liable in respect of any contract made or assurance given for the purposes of the state. These are examples of immunities.
 
   
Although the word ''right'' is often used to describe liberty, power, or immunity, Hohfeld clearly distinguished them. Indeed, Hohfeld described liberty as an ''a priori'' condition of the rule of law, coming into existence long before any [[Bill of Rights]] and offering an [[individual]] power to the extent that it is not restricted by any law. Essentially, Hohfeld believed that anyone who tries to encroach on the liberty of a citizen must be required to demonstrate their clear right to do so. After more than eighty years of consideration, some doubt whether this set of conceptual relationships is [[philosophy|philosophically]] sustainable. But, the core [[juxtaposition]] of ''right'', ''duty'' and ''liberty'' remains a seductive argument.
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==By region==
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===United States===
   
===Libertarian and political theory: Nozick and Rawls===
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Civil rights can refer to protection against public (government) and or private sector discrimination. In the United States, the [[Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution]] protects citizens against many forms of State discrimination, with its [[due process]] and [[equal protection]] requirements.
====Minimal state====
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Civil rights can also refer to protection against private actors or entities. The U.S. Congress subsequently addressed the issue through the [[Civil Rights Act of 1964]] Sec. 201. which states: (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin or sex. This legislation and the [[Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990]] are constitutional under the [[Commerce Clause]], as the Supreme Court has ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment only applies to the State. States generally have the power to enact similar legislation, provided that they meet the federal mininuim standard, under the doctrine of [[police powers]].
[[Robert Nozick]] ([[1938]]&ndash;[[2003]]) offered a model of a [[minarchism|"minimal state"]], described as [[libertarianism]]. Nozick argued that no state is ever justified in offering anything more than the most minimal of state functions, and further, that whatever might exist by way of rights exists only in the negative sense of those actions not yet prohibited. He denied the possibility that any citizen can have rights that require others to offer him or her services at the state's expense, and tested whether exchanges between individuals were legitimate by an entitlement theory:
 
* The "transfer principle" holds that goods or services ''"freely acquired from others who acquired them in a just way are justly acquired"''
 
* The "acquisition principle" states that people are entitled to retain all holdings acquired in a just way
 
* The "rectification principle" requires that any violation of the first two principles be repaired by returning holdings to their rightful owners as a "one time" redistribution (a reference to the Rawlsian Difference Principle).
 
   
Nozick, therefore, believed that there are no [[positive liberty|positive]] ''civil rights'', only rights to property and the right of [[Wiktionary:autonomy|autonomy]]. For him, a ''just'' society does as much as possible to protect everyone's independence and freedom to take any action for the benefit of one's self. This is an important [[teleology|teleological]] protection: the [[Jeffersonian political philosphy]] right to the pursuit of happiness is the freedom to engage in any actions so long as they do not infringe upon that same right exercised by others.
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The terms [[civil rights]] and [[civil liberties]] are often used interchangeably in the United States. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "a free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate."<ref>Thomas Jefferson: Rights of British America, 1774. ME 1:209, Papers 1:134 http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff0100.htm</ref>
   
Critics of the minimal state-model argue that a state which provides no services to citizens is inadequate.
 
   
====Just society====
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The [[United States Constitution]] recognizes different civil rights than do most other national constitutions. Two examples of civil rights found in the US but rarely (if ever) elsewhere are the right to bear arms ([[Second Amendment to the United States Constitution]]) and the right to a jury trial ([[Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution]]). Few nations, not even including a world organization body such as the [[United Nations]], have recognized either of these civil rights. Many nations recognize an individual's civil right to not be executed for crimes, a civil right not recognized within the US.
[[John Rawls]] ([[1921]]&ndash;[[2002]]) developed a [[model (abstract)|model]] of a different form of ''just'' society which relied on:
 
* The "liberty principle" which holds that citizens require minimal civil and legal rights to protect themselves
 
* The "difference principle" which states that every citizen would want to live in a society where improving the condition of the poorest becomes the first priority.
 
   
For Rawls, a right is an ''"entitlement or justified claim on others"'' which comprises both negative and positive [[obligations]], i.e. both that others must not harm anyone (negative obligation), and surrender a proportion of their [[earning]]s through taxation for the benefit of low-income earners (positive). This blurs the relationship between ''rights'' and ''duties'' as proposed by Hohfeld. For example if a citizen had the right to free [[medical care]], then others (through the agency of the government) would be obligated to provide that service.
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== See also==
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*[[Advocacy]]
[[Critic]]s of Rawls' approach doubt whether the difference principle is [[congruence|congruous]] with a state consistently applying the [[capitalism|capitalist]] model. Rawl's ideas however have influenced the [[implementation]] of [[social market economy|social market economies]] within a capitalist system in European countries like Germany.
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*[[Age discrimination]]
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*[[Affirmative Action]]
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*[[Black Power]]
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*[[Censorship]]
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*[[Democracy]]
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*[[Disability discrimination]]
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*[[Disability laws]]
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*[[Empowerment]
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*[[Equal education]]
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*[[Freedom]]
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*[[Human rights]]
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*[[Informed consent]]
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*[[Justice]]
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*[[Laws]]
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*[[Legal processes]]
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*[[Race and ethnic discrimination]]
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*[[Rights]]
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**[[Natural rights]]
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**[[Inalienable rights]]
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**[[Prisoners' rights]]
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**[[Gay rights]]
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**[[Women's rights]]
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**[[Men's rights]]
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**[[Minority rights]]
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**[[Fathers' rights]]
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*[[Sex discrimination]]
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*[[Social discrimination]]
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*[[Social equality]]
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*[[Social integration]]
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*[[Social issues]]
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*[[Social movement]]
   
The difference between Rawls and Nozick is that Rawls thought that a state should always provide the basic fundamentals of [[physical existence]], whereas Nozick gave no guarantee save that an individual always had the freedom to pursue h
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==Notes==
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<!-- this 'empty' section displays references defined elsewhere -->
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{{reflist}}
   
 
==References==
 
==References==
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*[[Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld|Hohfeld, W. N.]], ''Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning'', ed. by W.W. Cook ([[1919]]); reprint, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, [[1964]].
 
*[[Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld|Hohfeld, W. N.]], ''Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning'', ed. by W.W. Cook ([[1919]]); reprint, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, [[1964]].
 
*[[Robert Nozick|Nozick, Robert]], ''Anarchy, State, and Utopia'', Basic Books. [[1974]].
 
*[[Robert Nozick|Nozick, Robert]], ''Anarchy, State, and Utopia'', Basic Books. [[1974]].
*[[John Rawls|Rawls, John]], A Theory of Justice (Revised edition, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, [[1999]]), [[ISBN]] 0-674-00077-3.
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*[[John Rawls|Rawls, John]], A Theory of Justice (Revised edition, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, [[1999]]), ISBN 0-674-00077-3.
 
*[[Jean Edward Smith|Smith, Jean Edward]] & [[Herbert M. Levine|Levine, Herbert M.]], ''Civil Liberties & Civil Rights Debated'', Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, [[1988]].
 
*[[Jean Edward Smith|Smith, Jean Edward]] & [[Herbert M. Levine|Levine, Herbert M.]], ''Civil Liberties & Civil Rights Debated'', Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, [[1988]].
 
== See also==
 
*Agencies
 
**[[U.S. Commission on Civil Rights]]
 
*People
 
**[[Ronald Dworkin]]
 
**[[Corliss Lamont]]
 
**[[Martin Luther King Jr.]]
 
**[[Omali Yeshitela]]
 
**[[Jo Ann Robinson]]
 
**[[Fannie Lou Hamer]]
 
**[[Winson Hudson]]
 
**[[Ella Baker]]
 
*Politics
 
**[[American Civil Rights Movement (1896-1954)]]
 
**[[American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968)]]
 
**[[List of anti-discrimination acts]]
 
*Related Topics
 
**[[Anti-Semitism]]
 
**[[Civil liberties]]
 
**[[Human rights]]
 
**[[Natural rights]]
 
**[[Inalienable rights]]
 
**[[Prisoners' rights]]
 
**[[Rights]]
 
**[[Second-class citizen]]
 
**[[Apartheid]]
 
**[[Feminism]]
 
**[[Gay rights]]
 
**[[Women's rights]]
 
**[[Minority rights]]
 
   
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
* [http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/civil-rights/ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry]
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{{external links}}
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*[http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/civilrights/home.html Civil Rights Resource Guide, from the Library of Congress]
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*[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/civil-rights/ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry]
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*[http://www.civilrights.org/ The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights]
 
*[http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/index.htm Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project]
 
*[http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/index.htm Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project]
* [http://www.floridamemory.com/OnlineClassroom/PhotoAlbum/civil_rights.cfm Images of the Civil Rights Movement in Florida]
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*[http://www.wdashistory.org/ WDAS Radio's Enduring Impact on the Civil Rights Movement]
* [http://www.crmvet.org/ Civil Rights Movement Veterans]
 
* [http://themiddleoftheinternet.com/ Susan Klopfer's Mississippi Civil Rights Bookstore]
 
 
*[http://civilrights.org/ Civil Rights.org]
 
*[http://civilrights.org/ Civil Rights.org]
 
*[http://www.floridamemory.com/PhotographicCollection/VideoFilm2/video.cfm?VID=42 St. Augustine Race Riots] Brief video clip of demonstrations by blacks on Butler Beach in St. Augustine.
 
*[http://www.floridamemory.com/PhotographicCollection/VideoFilm2/video.cfm?VID=42 St. Augustine Race Riots] Brief video clip of demonstrations by blacks on Butler Beach in St. Augustine.
 
*[http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2716/ Civil Rights Movement]
 
*[http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2716/ Civil Rights Movement]
* [http://www.lulu.com/content/135246 Where Rebels Roost... Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited]
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*[http://www.africanaonline.com/civil_rights_timeline.htm Study of the civil rights movement in America.]
* [http://www.mherrera.org/freedom.htm Freedom in the World -Political freedoms and civil rights ranking]
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*[http://finduslaw.com/civil_rights_act_of_1964_cra_title_vii_equal_employment_opportunities_42_us_code_chapter_21 Civil Rights Act of 1964]
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*[http://finduslaw.com/civil_rights_act_of_1866_civil_rights_act_of_1871_cra_42_u_s_code_21_1981_1981a_1983_1988 Civil Rights Act of 1866]
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*[http://finduslaw.com/civil_rights_act_of_1866_civil_rights_act_of_1871_cra_42_u_s_code_21_1981_1981a_1983_1988 Civil Rights Act of 1871]
   
[[Category:Rights]]
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[[Category:Human rights]]
[[Category:Social justice]]
 
 
[[Category:Civil rights|*]]
 
[[Category:Civil rights|*]]
   
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Rights
Animal rights
Children's rights
Collective rights
Client rights
Civil rights
Equal rights
Fathers' rights
Gay rights
Group rights
Human rights
Inalienable rights
Individual rights
Legal rights
Men's rights
Natural right
Negative & positive
Reproductive rights
Self-defense
Social rights
"Three generations"
Women's rights
Workers' rights
Youth rights
File:Lyndon Johnson signing Civil Rights Act, 2 July, 1964.jpg
Lyndon B. Johnson signs the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964.
File:Lyndon Johnson meeting with civil rights leaders.jpg
Lyndon B. Johnson meets with civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, James Farmer
Discrimination
Brain animated color nevit

General forms

Specific forms
Social
Homophobia · Transphobia
Ableism · Sizeism · Adultism
Misogyny · Misandry · Lookism
Gerontophobia · Classism · Elitism

Manifestations
Slavery · Racial profiling · Lynching
Hate speech · Hate crime · Hate groups
Genocide · Holocaust · Pogrom
Ethnocide · Ethnic cleansing · Race war
Religious persecution · Gay bashing
Pedophobia · Ephebiphobia

Movements
Discriminatory
Aryanism · Neo-Nazism · Supremacism
Kahanism
Anti-discriminatory
Abolitionism · Civil rights · Gay rights
Women's/Universal suffrage · Men's rights
Children's rights · Youth rights
Disability rights · Inclusion
Social model of disability · Autistic rights

Policies
Discriminatory
Segregation: Racial/Ethnic/Religious/Sexual
Apartheid · Redlining · Internment
Anti-discriminatory
Emancipation · Civil rights · Desegregation
Integration · Reservation · Reparations
Affirmative action · Racial quota

Law
Discriminatory
Anti-miscegenation · Anti-immigration
Alien and Sedition Acts · Nuremberg Laws
Jim Crow laws · Black codes · Apartheid laws
Anti-discriminatory
List of anti-discrimination acts

Other forms
Nepotism · Cronyism
Colorism · Linguicism
Ethnocentrism · Triumphalism
Adultcentrism · Isolationism
Economic discrimination

Related topics
Prejudice · Supremacism · Intolerance
Tolerance · Diversity · Multiculturalism
Political correctness · Reverse discrimination
Eugenics · Racialism

Civil rights refers to two related but different terms. In civil law jurisdictions, a civil right is a right or power which can be exercised under civil law, which includes things such as the ability to contract. In civil law jurisdictions, lawsuits between private parties for things such as breach of contract or a tort are usually expressed in terms of infringement of a civil right. For example, Article 2 of the Contract Law of the People's Republic of China defines a contract as "an agreement establishing, modifying and terminating the civil rights and obligations between subjects of equal footing".

In common law jurisdiction, the term civil right is distinguished from "human rights" or "natural rights". Civil rights are rights that are bestowed by nations on those within their territorial boundaries, while natural or human rights are rights that many scholars claim that individuals have by nature of being born. For example, the philosopher John Locke (16321704) argued that the natural rights of life, liberty and property should be converted into civil rights and protected by the sovereign state as an aspect of the social contract. Others have argued that people acquire rights as an inalienable gift from a deity (such as God) or at a time of nature before governments were formed.

Laws guaranteeing civil rights may be written down,or falsely stated; derived from custom or implied. In the United States and most continental European countries, civil rights laws are most often written. Examples of civil rights and liberties include the right to get redress if injured by another, the right to privacy, the right of peaceful protest, the right to a fair investigation and trial if suspected of a crime, and more generally-based constitutional rights such as the right to vote, the right to personal freedom, the right to freedom of movement and the right of equal protection. As civilizations emerged and formalized through written constitutions, some of the more important civil rights were granted to citizens. When those grants were later found inadequate, civil rights movements emerged as the vehicle for claiming more equal protection for all citizens and advocating new laws to restrict the effect of current discriminations.

Theoretical background: The concept of rightsEdit

Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld (18791918) maintained that analysis of legal issues is frequently muddled and inconsistent because the legal concepts are improperly understood. The first question, therefore, is to understand what the rights are in "civil rights". There are two major schools of thought:

  • Hohfeld proposed a structured system of interrelated concepts
  • Nozick and Rawls approached the concept of rights from the perspectives of libertarian and Logical belief.

Implied rightsEdit

"Implied" rights are rights that a court may find to exist even though not expressly guaranteed by written law or custom, on the theory that a written or customary right must necessarily include the implied right. One famous (and controversial) example of a right implied from the U.S. Constitution is the "right to privacy", which the U.S. Supreme Court found to exist in the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut. In the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, the court found that state legislation prohibiting or limiting abortion violated this right to privacy. As a rule, state governments can expand civil rights beyond the U.S. Constitution, but they cannot diminish Constitutional rights.

By regionEdit

United StatesEdit

Civil rights can refer to protection against public (government) and or private sector discrimination. In the United States, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens against many forms of State discrimination, with its due process and equal protection requirements. Civil rights can also refer to protection against private actors or entities. The U.S. Congress subsequently addressed the issue through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Sec. 201. which states: (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin or sex. This legislation and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 are constitutional under the Commerce Clause, as the Supreme Court has ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment only applies to the State. States generally have the power to enact similar legislation, provided that they meet the federal mininuim standard, under the doctrine of police powers.

The terms civil rights and civil liberties are often used interchangeably in the United States. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "a free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate."[1]


The United States Constitution recognizes different civil rights than do most other national constitutions. Two examples of civil rights found in the US but rarely (if ever) elsewhere are the right to bear arms (Second Amendment to the United States Constitution) and the right to a jury trial (Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution). Few nations, not even including a world organization body such as the United Nations, have recognized either of these civil rights. Many nations recognize an individual's civil right to not be executed for crimes, a civil right not recognized within the US.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Thomas Jefferson: Rights of British America, 1774. ME 1:209, Papers 1:134 http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff0100.htm

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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