By Christopher Peter Latimer
The united states PATRIOT Act, the activities and loose speech of the Ku Klux Klan, and using privately owned units with GPS through legislations enforcement are all hugely debatable themes that fall less than the blanket of civil liberties and federal or nation authority—subjects which are vital to so much Americans.This booklet offers a accomplished exam of arbitrary nation motion post-September eleven, 2001, combining designated examinations of particular laws with watershed insurance of matters reminiscent of freedom of speech, press, and faith in addition to numerous elements of legal legislation and process. this article offers files from Britain, the yank colonial interval, the Founding interval, and the trendy period, together with contemporary superb proceedings. the writer presents an accompanying research of every rfile, delivering insightful historic context and ramifications of the choices and the legislation handed.
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Extra resources for Civil Liberties and the State: A Documentary and Reference Guide (Documentary and Reference Guides)
25 DID YOU KNOW? Alexander Hamilton, “Remarks on an Act for Regulating Elections,” 1787 In an inﬂuential speech to the New York State Assembly in February 1787, Alexander Hamilton, one of the principal architects of the federal Constitution, speculated that only formal court proceedings could suspend rights, not laws passed in the legislature. Hamilton argued that the due process of law is largely based on the decisions of courts and should not be left up to the legislatures, which couldn’t be trusted to exercise the prudence and respect that law requires: “It is there declared that, no man shall be disfranchised or deprived of any right, but by due process of law, or the judgment of his peers.
The ratifying document however included proposed amendments aimed at correcting perceived problems concerning representation in the Constitution. Allowing these amendments to be added to the document was a critical compromise that secured the victory for the proponents of the Constitution because approximately 10 delegates changed their mind to secure ratiﬁcation by a 187–168 vote. FURTHER READING Ackerman, Bruce. We the People: Foundations. : Harvard University Press, 1991, 166–67. Rutland, Robert Allen.
This emphasis on the common good reveals the framers’ understanding that individuals’ rights are not absolute but are circumscribed directly and formally by the right of the people to self-government. The goal was to secure the peoples’ collective well-being, their “common wealth,” not supremely the rights of individuals. It is no coincidence that John Adams suggested that Massachusetts adopt the title of “Commonwealth” and placed in its constitution the goal of creating a government of laws for the common good.