Presentation on theme: "Unalienable Rights “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable."— Presentation transcript:
1 Unalienable Rights“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”
2 Democracy The majority decides how the government operates. So abortion, the rights of the accused, gun control , separation of church and state -- are all decided by the majority.Problem: tyranny of the majority and the victimized minority
3 Individual RightsBut some rights are so sacred that they cannot be violated by anyone, even the majorityIndividual rights have expanded dramatically in the last 40 years to now include abortion, the rights of the accused, separation of church and state and gun controlThese issues are no longer entirely decided by elected officials but now by unelected judges
4 The Bill of RightsOriginally the Constitution did not include free speech, free press, free exercise of religion, right to a speedy and public trial, protection from cruel and unusual punishmentThere was widespread concern that this newly created federal government (with its army and ability to tax) would oppressSo the founders agreed to supplement the Constitution with a Bill of Rights – aimed at protecting INDIVIDUAL rights from the FEDERAL government
5 The Bill of RightsThe first 10 amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of RightsThey are civil liberties – protections against governmentThe Bill of Rights establishes another element of limited government – the belief that the people are free because the government is not
6 The Nature of Rights Rights are relative not absolute There are limits on all rights:Free speech: speech that would cause imminent unlawful acts, child pornography, speech that would disrupt the learning environment in schoolsFree press: articles that would falsely damage a private person’s reputationSearch and seizure: police need a warrant unless . . .
7 Federalism and Individual Rights The Bill of Rights initially only applied to the federal governmentBecause almost all law enforcement was at the state level, that meant the Bill of Rights was limited in its impactBut with the addition of the 14th amendment after the Civil War the Bill of Rights protections began to be applied to the state governments“No state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”