civil liberty


civil liberty

noun

: the right of people to do or say things that are not illegal without being stopped or interrupted by the government

Full Definition of CIVIL LIBERTY

:  freedom from arbitrary governmental interference (as with the right of free speech) specifically by denial of governmental power and in the United States especially as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights —usually used in plural
civil libertarian noun or adjective

Examples of CIVIL LIBERTY

  1. Freedom of speech is a civil liberty.

First Known Use of CIVIL LIBERTY

1644

civil liberty

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Freedom from arbitrary interference in one's pursuits by individuals or by government. The term is usually used in the plural. Civil liberties are protected explicitly in the constitutions of most democratic countries. (In authoritarian countries, civil liberties are often formally guaranteed in a constitution but ignored in practice.) In the U.S., civil liberties are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution's 13th Amendment prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude; the 14th bars the application of any law that would abridge the “privileges and immunities” of U.S. citizens or deprive any person of “life, liberty, or property…without due process of law” or deny any person equal protection under the law; and the 15th guarantees the right of all U.S. citizens to vote. The related term civil right is often used to refer to one or more of these liberties or indirectly to the obligation of government to protect certain classes of people from violations of one or more of their civil liberties (e.g., the obligation to protect racial minorities from discrimination on the basis of race). In the U.S., civil rights are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and subsequent legislation. See also American Civil Liberties Union.

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