Civil Liberties in the United States



opposed the new Constitution's ratification because of the belief that the federal government was given too much power


money paid as security to allow a defendant to stay out of jail until trial

Bill of Rights

first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution, which ensure individual protections from the government

civil liberty

freedom from government interference with an individual's fundamental rights

clear and present danger

doctrine established in Schenck v. United States (1919) by the U.S. Supreme Court that speech representing a threat to society could be restricted; it was replaced by the "imminent lawless action" test established in 1969 in Brandenburg v. Ohio


intentionally false statements about a person, whether spoken or written, made with the knowledge that they will harm the reputation of the subject of those statements

establishment clause

clause in the 1st Amendment forbidding laws creating an official, state-supported religion

exclusionary rule

judicial principle forbidding the use of evidence that has been illegally obtained, in violation of the 4th Amendment


supporters of a strong federal government

free exercise clause

clause of the 1st Amendment that forbids government interference with people's freedom of religious worship

hate speech

insulting and threatening speech that denounces or degrades others because of their race, creed, or membership in a persecuted group


legal doctrine that provisions of the U.S. Bill of Rights apply to the states through the due process clause of the 14th Amendment


defamatory statements made in writing

Miranda warning

statement by police that informs a person being interrogated of the right to remain silent and to have an attorney

prior restraint

government interference with freedom of the press by forbidding publication of what it sees as undesirable content

redress of grievances

government action of righting a wrong claimed by citizens

right to privacy

right to carry out certain activities without legal or governmental interference

separation of church and state

principle embodied in the establishment and free exercise clauses of the 1st Amendment, whereby religion and government are separate spheres


defamatory statements made orally

symbolic speech

expressive behavior that employs gestures or actions rather than words