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1721, American English; specifically of black U.S. citizens from 1866.
A broad range of privileges and rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and subsequent amendments and laws that guarantee fundamental freedoms to all individuals. These freedoms include the rights of free expression and action (civil liberties); the right to enter into contracts, own property, and initiate lawsuits; the rights of due process and equal protection of the laws; opportunities in education and work; the freedom to live, travel, and use public facilities wherever one chooses; and the right to participate in the democratic political system.
Note: Efforts to redress the situation of inequality, such as the civil rights movement and the women's movement, have resulted in legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in affirmative action, and in the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.