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civil rights

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


P olitical philosophy, philosophy of law Civil matters pertain to the dealings of the state with its citizens as citizens. Civil rights are the rights granted to the citizens by the constitution and laws of a state and must be protected by the constitution and laws. These rights, or civil liberties, generally include freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religious belief, and freedom of political participation. In this sense, they cover the rights stated in articles 1–21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). The right to due process in the law and other legal protections are also included. It is a matter of dispute whether fundamental economic and social rights, such as the rights to education, work, shelter, and health care, should also be regarded as civil rights. Questions arise concerning the relations among civil rights. Are they all on a par, or are some more fundamental than others? What should be done if the rights conflict? Can each stand on its own or are they interdependent? Civil rights are correlated with civil duties. If A has a right to X, then other citizens and the state have an obligation not to interfere with A's right. The United States enacted a Civil Rights Act in 1964, which addressed in particular the problem of racial equality. Here “civil rights” means the equal rights of black people to education, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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