by Us History, Pittsburg High School
This WebQuest is designed to help you pick your topic for the Unit 4 research paper on National Security vs. Civil Liberties. This investigation will allow you to read about laws/policies established by the US government and determine their limitations at creating both a secure and free nation.
Civil Liberties vs. National Security
The Bill of Rights included in the Constitution of the United States is considered one of the most important additions we as a nation have added to the world. With this document our founders established protections for the people of the U.S. from the government, and it has been the basis for many other nations' constitutions and bill of rights.
Throughout the history of the U.S., though, this document has been tested many times, most often under the pretense of protecting our nation, aka "national security". The government's argument is based on the idea that in order to make sure that our nation is safe and that we are all protected, they may have to impede on our civil liberties (those rights protected in the Bill of Rights). We as a nation have been asked to do this many times before:
- The Alien and Sedition Acts during the 100 Years War to protect us from Britain and France
- The suspension of Habeas Corpus during the Civil War in order to speed up the court process to deal with traitors
- The Espionage and Sedition Acts during WWI to protect the US from radical ideas from Europe and a possible government overthrow
- Internment Camps during WWII to protect us from Japanese spies
- The creation of the House Un-American Activities Committee to investigate for possible communist ties in America
- The USA PATRIOT Act created after the attacks on 9/11 to protect us from terrorism
- Donald Trump's Immigration Ban created to protect us from terrorism
Terms to know:
National Security - a concept that a government should protect the state and its citizens against all kind of "national" crises through a variety of power projections, such as political power, diplomacy, economic power, military might, and so on.
Civil Liberties - personal guarantees and freedoms that the government cannot abridge, either by law or by judicial interpretation without due process – such as the Bill of Rights
Globalization - a process of interaction among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, driven by trade and information sharing.