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Taking into account that civil rights and liberties are abstract concepts shaped by political values and debate, evaluate America's record of protecting the rights and liberties of its citizens.

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Alicia Duffey American Politics: Essay Four Taking into account that civil rights and liberties are abstract concepts shaped by political values and debate, evaluate America's record of protecting the rights and liberties of its citizens. (in approx 500 words) Although the American Constitution and particularly the first 10 amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights promise the citizens of the United States certain rights and protections the civil rights record of the country highlights the fragile nature of such abstract promises. The constitution does not define the meaning of such phrases as 'liberty' or 'equal rights,' it the responsibility of the courts, the un-elected branch of government, to make meaning through rulings they make on cases of constitutional importance. ...read more.


For decades after the passage of the Bill of Rights it reflected the conservative bias of the judiciary, allowing for such injustices as continued slavery then 'separate but equal' and a plethora of laws that protected commerce but not people. Civil rights and liberties at this point in history were defined by the elites in favour of elites who wanted to maintain their stronghold on political and social power. Even when laws where passed that seemingly sought to impose actual civil rights and liberties such as in the case of Brown v Board of Education they were enacted and manipulated in such a way that reflected the persistent racist conservative views of the elite, who were more fearful of upsetting Southern whites than they were interested in upholding the true intentions of the constitution's clauses. ...read more.


Such people have only had their problems addressed because they have fought for recognition. It is them, not the Supreme Court or the political parties who advanced a realisation of the concepts of civil rights and liberties. The American political system has failed to protect the rights and liberties of a significant minority of it citizens as they throughout history politicians and more importantly judges have firstly failed to grant certain groups civil rights and liberties in their most basic form. Secondly even when these groups have gained recognition as citizens the concepts of rights and liberties have been manipulated by the political elites in order to conform to their own political values. They have not used their power to serve the true ends of their constitution but instead to create a society provides liberty and equality that benefits people such as themselves. ...read more.

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