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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

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

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

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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 ...


"Neutral" Principles: Rethinking The Legal History Of Civil Rights, 1934-1964, Anders Walker Jan 2009

"Neutral" Principles: Rethinking The Legal History Of Civil Rights, 1934-1964, Anders Walker

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This paper recovers Columbia Law Professor Herbert Wechsler's constitutional involvement in the long civilrights movement. Derided for criticizing Brown v. Board of Education in 1959, Wechsler first became involved in civil rights litigation in the 1930s, continued to be interested in civil rights issues in the 1940s, and argued one of the most important civil rights cases to come before the Supreme Court in the 1960s. His critique of Brown, this article maintains, derived not from a disinterest in the black struggle but from a larger conviction that racial reform should be process rather than rights-based. By recovering Wechsler ...