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Chapter 4 presents an overview of the civil rights and civil liberties provided to people through the Constitution. According to Coaty (2013), civil rights are “an active duty of the government in order to enable equal protection under the law for different groups”, for instance, the African Americans, the Natives, the females, and some others; while the civil liberties are “a government ‘do not do’ list”.

The Civil Liberties come from the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. It becomes clear that when Civil Rights were officially enforced, the people actually did not get what they were supposed to in practice. Thus there were several periods of the Civil Liberties movement.

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These are the major documents that enforced Civil Rights:

1789 – ratification of the constitution – different status of the Native Americans;

1924 – the Natives became the citizens of America;

1954 – Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka – “impossible to have separate but equal” education, so this was the end of discrimination in education based on race differences.

1957 – first Civil Rights Bill.

The following documents enforce Civil Liberties:

1862 – the Emancipation Act, the slaves were freed, but did not receive any rights;

1883 – Plessy vs. Ferguson established separate schools based on differences of race;

1920 – women got the right to vote.

Civil Liberties are an attempt to meet the needs of individuals who are often in the minority group, besides they are founded on the fundamental points of democracy.

It should be noted that there is a difference between the notions of 'civil liberties' and 'civil rights'. If to consider the meaning of 'civil rights', one can explain the terms as the right to be freed from some type of attitude or treatment on the basis of certain personality traits like gender, the color of skin, ethnicity, disability, social status, and so on; while ‘civil liberties’ are related to certain rights and freedoms which are provided through the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.

American society is characterized as democratic people where tolerance and social equality are prerogatives in lawmaking practice. Therefore, the protection of civil rights and liberties is considered to be the major political asset of the Americans. Of course, there are many political problems in society, but the way they are solved and the eagerness of the government to meet their people’s needs is on a much higher level than in many other developed countries.

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