Civil Rights Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Civil Rights, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Civil Rights?

The priviledges and freedom as a human rights bestowed upon an individual by virtue of citizenship or residency of a particular country. It also includes protection, equality, use of public property, freedom of speech etc as per norms of different country.

History and Meaning of Civil Rights

Civil rights are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment under the law, including protection from discrimination based on characteristics like race, sex, and religion. The concept of civil rights has a long history, dating back to the Magna Carta in 1215, which established the principle that nobody, including the king, was above the law. The modern concept of civil rights in the United States is often traced back to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed racial segregation and discrimination in voting.

Civil rights movements throughout history have fought for the expansion of rights for marginalized groups, including African Americans, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities. While progress has been made, issues of discrimination and inequality still exist.

Examples of Civil Rights

  • The right to vote, regardless of one's race, gender, or religion.
  • The right to fair housing, free from discrimination based on one's race or ethnicity.
  • The right to a fair trial and legal representation, regardless of one's income or social status.

Legal Terms Similar to Civil Rights

  • Human rights: The basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to, such as the right to life, liberty, and security of person.
  • Constitutional rights: The rights granted by a country's constitution, which acts as the supreme law of the land.
  • Equal protection: The idea that all individuals should be treated equally by the law, without discrimination based on factors such as race or gender.