Civil rights

Civil rights


23 October 2015

Impact of the government on individual lives

In discharging its obligations towards the citizens, the government is expected to respect the individual rights of the citizens. It is however worth noting that there have been considerable changes towards the rights that the government accords individuals and how it interprets the rights (Gooch, 2015). From this perspective, it is evident that the government has profound impact on the lives of individuals. The question however remains what the extent they should impact on individual lives and also if it is appropriate or not.

The government is usually obligated to ensure the safety of its citizens as well as guarantee that they have good quality lifestyles (Ginsberg, Lowi, Weir, Tolbert, & Spitzer, 2012). To do this the government can have significant control over the lives of individuals, fostering the relevance of the bill of rights. The bill of rights serves to limit the power of the government over individuals by according citizen with personal liberties. This is evidence that the government should have some, but not total control over the lives of its citizens (Aufseeser, 2014).

Currently the government can through legal means influence the private lives of individuals. For instance, due to new amendments in the rights of individuals, when one is considered a threat or a terror suspect, the federal government through the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) monitor the activities of the individuals as well as all of their communications via email and social media as well as their voice calls (Aufseeser, 2014). The government also dictates the fiscal policies of the land as well as other issues such as minimum wages. All these factors directly impact on individuals. The changes that have been brought about by the ‘ObamaCare’ again show how profoundly the government impacts on individual lives. It is therefore expected that the government impacts on the quality lifestyles of its people, but not to decide for them when it comes to personal rights (Aufseeser, 2014). For instance the government should not restrict freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press (Aufseeser, 2014).

The extent of the protection that amendments in the bill of rights offer accused

There are various ways through which the amendments of the bill of rights protect the accused, for instance the concept of due process (Gooch, 2015). This concept is yet to have a concise definition. The law is too flexible and there have even been cases when perpetrators of crime have been let go because their memorandum rights were not read to them when they were being arrested, or evidence that is used to convict them was collected before warrant was granted (Gooch, 2015). This is a protection that the accused enjoy from the Fourth Amendment that protects them from improper searches and seizures (Gooch, 2015). Victims have been negatively affected by such amendments. For example, a rape victim who is let go because evidence was collected before a court warrant was issued. This would leave the victim and their close ones traumatised and devastated especially if all evidence proves the guilt of the accused.

The amendments have gone too far in protecting the accused. Another example of this is that the Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive bail and excessive fines (Gooch, 2015). This means that accused, even when guilty, can afford to meet the bail and continue to live outside prison walls. This means that if they wish to they can commit other crimes or even hide evidence. Victims always feel insecure when perpetrators of crimes are free (Ginsberg, Lowi, Weir, Tolbert, & Spitzer, 2012). The insecurity can even result in them having mental issues. The eight amendments also protect the accused from cruel and unusual punishment even when their crimes were cruel and unusual (Aufseeser, 2014). The above examples show that the amendments encroach on the right of the victims to live quality lives.


Aufseeser, D. (2014). Control, Protection and Rights. International Journal of Children’s Rights. Vol. 22 Issue 2 , p241-267.

Ginsberg, B., Lowi, T. J., Weir, M., Tolbert, C., & Spitzer, R. J. (2012). We the People: An Introduction to American Politics. New York: W. W. Norton & Company; Ninth Essentials Edition edition.

Gooch, J. C. (2015). Illegal Search and Seizure, Due Process, and the Rights of the Accused: The Voices of Power in the Rhetoric of Los Angeles Police Chief William H. Parker. Pólemos (2035-5262); Vol. 9 Issue 1 , p83-98,.


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