Freedom, Equality, and Security: Civil Liberties in the 21st Century
This course is no longer being offered.
This course examines some of the rights and liberties protected by the American Constitution and contemporary debates over the proper balance between freedom, equality, and security. Topics to be covered include freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, the right to privacy, the right to bear arms, and equal protection before the law. This course aims to help students think more clearly about the purpose and limits of political authority, the idea of justice, the nature of the Constitution, and how rights and liberties are protected under it.
This course introduces students to the historical, philosophical, and legal roots of civil liberties. It explores the major political conflicts that have shaped the ideas and debates over the proper definition and scope of civil liberties in the United States over time. The proper scope of civil liberties remains difficult to define. Their full protection is often still more difficult to achieve.
Underlying this course is an evaluation of the basic idea of justice, and three ideals that animate theories of justice: freedom, equality, and security. In practice, these three ideals often conflict. Deciding the balance between freedom, equality, and security is essential. This course analyzes how and why decisions about the balance, or trade-off, between freedom, equality, and security are made.
The course does not aim to convert students to any particular perspective, opinion, or other viewpoint. The goal of this course is to prepare students to be informed and responsible citizens. To accomplish this goal, this course will focus on developing and strengthening student's; writing, analytical, critical thinking, and public speaking skills, including a moot court exercise. This class is ideal for students thinking about studying Political Science or History in college, and for those interested in a future legal career.
This course is designed to enable and prepare students to:
-Learn the basic civil liberties protected by the U.S. Constitution
-Have a basic understanding of the main perspectives and traditions concerning the proper scope and definition of civil liberties
-Understand the balance between freedom, equality, and security
-Improve their ability to develop and defend oral and written arguments
-Become more thoughtful and informed citizens
Basic knowledge of American politics and international affairs is the only prerequisite.