Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Legal History Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Civil rights

Civil Rights and Discrimination

Christopher W. Schmidt

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

The Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Divide, Christopher W. Schmidt Mar 2014

The Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Divide, Christopher W. Schmidt

Christopher W. Schmidt

Contemporary legal discourse differentiates “civil rights” from “civil liberties.” The former are generally understood as protections against discriminatory treatment, the latter as freedom from oppressive government authority. This Essay explains how this differentiation arose and considers its consequences.

Although there is a certain inherent logic to the civil rights-civil liberties divide, it in fact is the product of the unique circumstances of a particular moment in history. In the early years of the Cold War, liberal anticommunists sought to distinguish their incipient interest in the cause of racial equality from their belief that national security required limitations on the speech ...