Civil and political rights  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.

Civil rights are distinguished from "human rights" or "natural rights", also called "our God-given 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 the deity or at a time of nature before governments were formed.

Laws guaranteeing civil rights may be written down, 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 civilisations emerged and formalised 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.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Civil and political rights" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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