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Civil Liberties and Order #11

April 6, 2011

We are said to be “in the land of the free”.  Freedoms must be balanced against restrictions. So, what does it mean to balance the need for order against the need for liberty?  The constitution in its form as approved by its writers did not give a Bill of Rights to promote protections for the people.  Rather, the writers of the constitution believed that the delineation of powers given the new central government were enough to protect the citizenry from oppressive government.  But, the states and the people felt different.  Ultimately, a Bill of Rights emerged and the constitution was eventually ratified by a majority of states.  Since then we, our government’s executive, legislative, and primarily the Court have been involved in seeking to fully interpret how to balance liberty and order.  Civil liberty may be called a negative right or totality of rights assuring that a central power is kept from infringing on the liberty of the masses.

Source References:

Janda, Kenneth, Jeffrey Berry, and Jerry Goldman. 2009. The Challenge of Democracy.  Boston, MA: WadsworthCengage Learning.
Shea, Daniel, Joanne Green, and Christopher Smith.  2007.  Living Democracy.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Schmidt, Steffan, Mack Shelley, and Barabara Bardes.  2008.  American Government and Politics Today.  Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Miroff, Bruce, Raymond Seidelman, and Todd Swanstrom.  2007.  The Democratic Debate.  Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Gitelson, Alan, Robert L. Dudley, and Melvin Dubnick. 2008. American Government.  Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Dreslang, Dennis, James Gosling.  2008.  Politics and Policy in American States and Communities.  New York, NY: Pearson Longman.

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