Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.
Understanding Civil Rights
Did you know that the second you were born, you were granted rights? That's right - as soon as you arrived in the world, there were rules that stated how you should be treated and what you are allowed to do. Some rights are known as natural rights (such as life and liberty), and these are rights that do not change over time or from place to place. Civil rights, however, do change over time and are different in different places all over the world.
Civil rights guarantee that every citizen has equal protection under the law, often found in a country's constitution. You acquire your civil rights by being a citizen of a country. In the United States, it is the one of the main responsibilities of the Supreme Court to make sure that people's civil rights are being protected, as well as make changes to civil rights laws as needed.
Types of Civil Rights
Some of your civil rights include your right to education and your right to vote. You also have the right to say what is on your mind (freedom of speech), as protected by the First Amendment. You have the right to work and live wherever you'd like, as well. Of course, if the house you want to buy is too expensive or if you are not qualified for the job you'd like, well, then that's a different story. However, civil rights make those dreams possible - and legal!
In the United States, the federal government guarantees your civil rights. Other civil rights, however, are granted to you by the state. For example, prior to a Supreme Court ruling in 1967, some states didn't allow black and white people to marry each other. Marriages between people of the same sex became legal at the federal level in 2015; prior to that Supreme Court ruling, it was only legal in certain states.
Civil Rights and Discrimination
Being discriminated against is a pretty rotten feeling. Discrimination occurs when you are treated differently based on what you look like or where you come from. Throughout American and world history, people have been discriminated against because of their gender, religion, race and many other reasons. Civil rights protect you from being discriminated against by the government.
Civil rights also work to provide equality for all people. This means that all citizens have equal opportunities for things like work, education and marriage no matter what.
Civil Rights Movements
In the United States, slavery violated black people's civil rights because the practice deprived them of many things, like earning money for their work and an education, just because of the color of their skin. After the Civil War, the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments made slavery illegal. However, it took the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s to end segregation, or separation of blacks and whites in public places and schools. The Civil Rights Movement also led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which made it easier for black people in the South to vote.
Even in the 21st century, some research shows that females have much lower salaries than men. As of June 2016, the Equal Rights Amendment, which would prevent discrimination based on a person's sex, has yet to be ratified.
Civil rights are legally granted to you by the place where you live. They protect you from legal discrimination, as well as provide equality for all, regardless of what you look like or where you come from.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack