Describe the growth of our rights from the 1940s to the present.

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American history from 1940 on has generally been one of increasing respect for rights.  There has been a great expansion of civil rights and civil liberties during this time.  Some important examples of this expansion include:

  • The granting of civil rights to African Americans.
  • The creation of the right to privacy that, for example, was used to strike down laws against the use of contraceptives.
  • The "incorporation" of the Bill of Rights.  This made it so the Bill of Rights applied not only to the federal government but also to the states.  
  • The passage of laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act that protected basic civil rights for the handicapped.

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