Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Weekly Quiz: Test Yourself on this Week’s Events

The weekly quiz is now live in Mypoliscilab. Good luck!


Weekly Poll: Your Opinion on Gun Control Laws

Subsequent to the elementary school shooting that killed 28 people in Connecticut last week; some are calling on Congress to pass a stricter gun control law. What do you think?

MPSL VLog: Bully Pulpit?

Churches are not supposed to endorse specific political candidates or they risk losing their tax-exempt status. In October, pastors decided to challenge this rule when they participated in an organized day to endorse candidates. Professor Gaffaney explains.

Weekly Poll: Your Opinion on Race in the U.S.

John Sununu’s racial comment on Colin Powell’s endorsement of President Obama has caused some to wonder if the nation has become more racially divided since Obama was elected in 2008. What do you think?

The Daily Show: Republican Candidate Said What About Rape Now?

Richard Mourdock forgets the first law of fetus club.

Philosophically Important, Legally Irrelevant

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jeffe...

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of independence (1776) were all of British descent. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week, Americans around the country will enjoy spectacular fireworks displays and gorge on countless hotdogs in celebration of the nation’s independence. The Fourth of July holiday would not be possible if it was not for the Declaration of Independence, one of the most well-known and quoted documents in the United States of AMerica:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

However, most Americans do not realize that the declaration itself is not a legal document, but merely an announcement declaring the 13 American colonies as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. The Declaration of Independence may not be legally binding; it is nonetheless, the philosophical foundation of what will latter become the American political culture and American jurisprudence. It solidified within the American psyche, the idea of rights untouchable by government and the notion of liberty and justice for all.

Happy Fourth of July!


Video Glossary: Public Opinion