The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Essay by Chaylene FaganCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 1996

download word file, 3 pages 4.6

Where do you go if someone is threatening your personal rights? Do you

go to the police, or maybe to the government? What if the police and

government are the parties threatening your rights? All you have to do is just

call the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). Sounds like a commercial

doesn't it. The ACLU blankets the United States with its legal protection. It is

involved in so many aspects of the fight for civil liberties that it is difficult to

cover it all. To fully understand what the ACLU has done for the United States

would take much longer than I have. Therefore, I have picked a couple of

incidents that, to me, exemplify what the ACLU is, and how they have affected

our society.

The ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union, is an organization that began

the struggle to protect the civil liberties of the American people.

The ACLU is

defined as being a US non-partisan organization offering legal aid and other

assistance in cases of violation of civil liberties.(Websters) Civil liberties contain

a substantial body of law including: freedom of speech and press, separation of

church and state, free exercise of religion, due process of law, equal protection,

and privacy.(Walker 3) The Encyclopedia of the Constitution defines civil

liberties as 'those rights that an individual citizens may assert against the

government.' In a formal sense, the ACLU is a private voluntary organization

dedicated to defending the Bill of Rights. Officially established in 1920, the

ACLU now claims over 270,000 members. With offices in most of the states and

the District of Columbia the ACLU justifiably calls itself ' the nation's largest law

firm.'(Walker 4)

The ACLU, despite its noble goal, has a terrible public image. The reason

for such hatred or support is the...