The term civil liberties is often used interchangeably with civil rights. However, many theoreticians make a distinction between liberties as protections against government actions and rights as things one is permitted to do. In this schema, civil liberties are negative freedoms, while civil rights are positive ones.

In the United States, the Constitution and Bill of Rights are important sources of legislation on both civil rights and civil liberties. One of the key principles established in the Constitution is that of due process. This concept gives the individual protection from the arbitrary exercise of government power through court procedures that protect the accused and requirements the government must satisfy in order to deprive a person of life, liberty, or property.

The Bill of Rights constitutes the first ...

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