The 14th Amendment And Civil Liberties

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The incorporation of the 14th Amendment in regards to Civil Liberties is one of the longest and most important constitutional debates of all time. Though the 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868, the Supreme Court rendered their first interpretation of its scope five years later. The Court supported the Privileges and Immunities Clause by a narrow 5-4 vote. This clause was later thought to be the regular basis of enforcing individual citizen’s rights and civil liberties. The development in understanding and the provision for protection of one such liberty, freedom of religion, has changed throughout the history of the United States. Evidence of this can be seen not only in the role government has played but also through several court cases.
In the early 20th century, the Supreme Court started to incorporate only some of the specific provisions of the Bill of Rights while at the same time, denying the incorporation of others. Civil liberties are considered protection against government actions. For example, the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights guarantees Americans the right to practice whatever religion they please. Government, then, cannot interfere in an individual's freedom of worship. The Federal Government was instrumental in expanding the protection of an individual’s rights regarding freedom of religion. Back to an earlier time when civilizations would follow their leaders, such as in the Dark Ages, the growth of personal freedoms was at first rather slow, if nonexistent. Throughout the Dark Ages this lack of progress was directly linked with the “solitary, nasty, brutish, and short” quality of life at that time –Thomas Hobbes (Woiceshyn). Once freedom became more desired by the population around the 19th cent...

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In conclusion, the incorporation of the 14th Amendment in regards to the development of understanding and the provision for protection of civil liberties like freedom of religion has changed throughout the history of the United States. The role government has played continues to grow, for better or worse, and may actually require the Courts to revise its interpretation from which laws are developed. Indeed, the separation of church and state has had its highs and lows. From the case involving the busing of children to parochial schools to another addressing the use of prayer in public schools and all the way to the President of the United States forming faith-based organizations to benefit citizens in need of aid, the government, and more importantly its citizens, will continue to closely monitor the progress and protection of their freedom of religion.

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