The US has poorer human rights than you might imagine.


Human rights

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Human rights are a group of privileges that are legally guaranteed in the United States by the Constitution of the United States (particularly the Bill of Rights), state constitutions, international treaties, customary law, legislation passed by Congress and state legislatures, as well as citizen initiatives and state referendums. Through a ratified constitution, the federal government has promised unalienable rights to its people, including (to some extent) non-citizens. Through judicial precedent, legislation, and constitutional changes, these rights have developed over time. Along with the rights themselves, these rights have been more widely available over time  International human rights legislation is subject to jurisdiction by federal courts within the United States.

In terms of human rights, the United States has typically received high to fair ratings. For instance, the United States is ranked first for human freedom in terms of civil and political rights according to the Freedom in the World ranking, which is based in the United States, with 83 out of 100 points as of 2021. With a score of 72.74 out of 100 in the Press Freedom Index issued by Reporters Without Borders as of 2022, the United States is ranked 42nd out of 180 nations, with lower numbers signifying less press freedom. With a score of 7.85 out of 10, the United States was classified as a “flawed democracy” in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, placing it as the 26th most democratic nation in the world as of 2021 According to the Human Rights Measurement Initiative, when compared to other high-income nations, the United States performs worse than average in terms of quality of life, safety from the state, and empowerment rights. Despite receiving fair to high ranks in human rights assessments, the United States faces severe domestic and international criticism for its track record in this area. A lot of the criticism is focused on the existence of systemic racism, weaker labor protections than most western nations, invasion of citizens’ privacy through mass surveillance programs,  police brutality,

the greatest proportion of children incarcerated in the world, some of the world’s longest jail terms, and continuous usage of the death penalty despite its repeal in practically all other western nations  Neglecting both legal and unauthorized immigrants (including children),  The promotion of state terrorism, the lack of a universal health care program, unlike most other developed nations, the most expensive and least effective healthcare systems of any developed nation, the health care system’s preference for profit through privatization over the wellbeing of citizens, continuing to back foreign autocrats (even when genocide has been committed), Extrajudicial targeted assassinations, extraordinary renditions, extrajudicial detentions, torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and other “black sites,” and forced disappearances


Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence 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” 1776, introducing the idea of universal human rights. The Declaration is “the most referenced proclamation of human rights in recorded history,” according to historian Joseph J. Ellis Anthony Benezet founded the first group dedicated to human rights and the eradication of slavery in the Thirteen Colonies of British America in 1775. The Thirteen Colonies declared their independence from the British Empire in the Declaration of Independence, which was published a year later. According to the Declaration, “all men are formed equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among those are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” paraphrasing John Locke’s “life, liberty, and property.”This perspective on human liberties, which emerged during the European Age of Enlightenment, holds that essential freedoms are given to each man (but not to women) by a divine or supernatural source and are inalienable and inherent. They are not given to monarchs who then provide them to subjects.

The former thirteen colonies underwent a pre-government period of more than ten years after the Revolutionary War, during which there was intense discussion over the type of government they would have The United States Constitution established a republic that protected a number of rights and civil liberties when it was ratified in 1787 by conventions held both at the national level and in the colonies. However, it did not provide more white male property owners (about 6% of the population) the right to vote in the US  In contrast to the Declaration of Independence, which used the term “Men,” the Constitution used the term “Persons.” It also excluded any mention of a “Creator” or “God” or any authority deriving from them, and it permitted “affirmation” in place of a “oath” if that was what the signer chose constitutional law guaranteeing rights and ensuring that everyone has access to them (presumably meaning men and women, and perhaps children, although the developmental distinction between children and adults poses issues and has been the subject of subsequent amendments, as discussed below). The considerable Quaker presence in the colonies, particularly in the Delaware Valley, and their religious convictions that all people, regardless of sex, age, race, or other traits, possessed the same Inner light may have contributed to this notion in some way. The Constitution’s development and ratification would have been influenced by Quaker and Quaker-derived viewpoints, including the direct impact of some of the Framers, such as John Dickinson and Thomas Mifflin, who were either themselves Quakers or hailed from areas where Quakers were prevalent.

However, the original Constitution authorized slavery (despite not basing it on the race or any other aspect of the slave), and through the Three-Fifths Compromise, it counted slaves (who were not defined by race) as three-fifths of a Person for the purposes of distribution of taxes and representation in the House of Representatives. Dickinson, Mifflin, and other Framers who opposed slavery were outvoted on that issue (although the slaves themselves were discriminated against in voting for such representatives).

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Concerns about individual liberty and the concentration of power at the federal level arose when the new Constitution came into effect, leading to the revision of the Constitution through the ratification of the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. However, for the first 130 years following its ratification, this had little effect on court rulings the definition of “Person” was also starting to be interpreted differently by courts and legislatures, with some jurisdictions limiting the term to just men, only individuals with property, or only white men. For instance, even though women had previously been allowed to vote in the colonial era and since the United States’ formation in some states, such as New Jersey, other states still prohibited it. In place of her departed husband, Lydia Chapin Taft cast her vote in the 1756 town hall meeting Women lost the ability to vote in New York in 1777, Massachusetts in 1780, and Pennsylvania in 1784 The Granite State. From 1775 to 1807, the state constitution of New Jersey allowed all people worth more than fifty pounds (roughly $7,800 adjusted for inflation), who had this property, to vote; as a result, free black men and single women of any race had the right to vote until 1807, but not married women, who could not independently assert ownership of fifty pounds the law was changed in 1790 to specifically include women.

After fifty years, in 1920, the Constitution underwent another amendment with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which firmly outlawed discrimination against women’s voting rights. The Burger Court issued a number of decisions in the 1970s that made it clear that discrimination against women in the status of being Persons was against the law and that earlier court decisions to the contrary had been sui generis and an abuse of authority. The case Reed v. Reed is the one that receives the most citations because it established a strict scrutiny requirement for any discrimination against either sex in the rights connected to Person status The Twenty-sixth Amendment, which forbade age discrimination for voters 18 years of age and over, was also adopted in the 1970s. The Supreme Court has mostly addressed other attempts to address the developmental difference between children and adults in cases involving person status and rights. In Miller v. Alabama (2012), the Court acknowledged the political and biological principle that children and adults differ from one another.The United States contributed significantly to the creation of the United Nations organization’s basic document, the United Nations charter, which was finished in 1945

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who was well-known for her support of human rights, served as the chair of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Drafting Committee. Similar to this, the future influence, power, and scope of international human rights were still very much in question for both the US government and its citizens. In the end, the United States still lacked a clear policy position on whether it would uphold domestically recognized international human rights. There had undoubtedly been some domestic political efforts, such as those made by the President Truman Committee on Civil Rights, which in 1947 published a report outlining the prospect of using the UN charter to combat racial discrimination in the US. Clearly, it appeared to be time to implement the UDHR now that the United States had successfully adopted it.

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Like human rights would be a major factor in US domestic legislation. The decision to apply international law on a territorial basis is still a hotly contested topic. In 1951, William H. Fitzpatrick earned the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing for his several editorials cautioning against the replacement of the supreme law of the country by international human rights. Given that in the 1940s and 1950s racial discrimination, political exclusion, and gender inequality were commonplace aspects of American social life, Fitzpatrick’s concerns and motivations, as well as those of his readers, stood in support of the protracted, bitter social and political struggles that tore much of the country apart at the time. However, there is now little concern in the United States regarding the potential impact of human rights on its domestic legal system. The United States government has frequently presented itself as a staunch advocate for human rights in the international community throughout the last few decades. However, the government still sees human rights as more of a choice than a responsibility, and as an international phenomenon rather than a domestic one.

Even though many of the inequalities from more than 50 years ago have been eliminated, the United States continues to be in violation of the Declaration in that “everyone has the right to leave any country” because it is still legal for the government to revoke someone’s passport in order to stop them from entering or leaving the country for foreign policy, national security, or child support-related reasons. Additionally, the US violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Kid, which stipulates that a child must have a relationship with both parents. Conflict between a parent’s desire to leave the country without providing for their children or otherwise abusing their rights and the human rights of the kid the provision of personal child care for his child may involve both positive and negative rights.

Domestic legal system of protection

The American Declaration of Independence was the first civic text to adhere to a contemporary definition of human rights, claims Human Rights: The Essential Reference the right to keep and bear arms, the freedom from harsh and unusual punishment, and the right to a fair trial by jury are only a few of the unalienable rights recognized by the Constitution.

The impact of international agreements

The U.S. Constitutional Law distinguishes between self-executing and non-self-executing treaties when referring to human rights and agreements that recognize or establish individual rights. Treaties that do not self-execute, which ascribe rights that may only be granted by law in accordance with the constitution, must be put into effect by legislation before they may be incorporated into domestic law. The Constitution also stipulates that some situations, such as those that would compel the United States to declare war or appropriate cash, explicitly call for parliamentary consent.

Human rights treaties that impose a duty to refrain from behaving in a certain way or grant certain rights are typically regarded as self-executing and exempt from further legislative action. In situations where governing organizations decline to Constitutional scholars contend that proclaiming otherwise self-executing treaties to be non-self-executing via a legislative non-recognition act violates the separation of powers since, under Article III, the judiciary, not Congress, has the jurisdiction to apply treaty law to issues before the court. This is a crucial clause in situations where the Congress deems a human rights treaty to be non-self-executing, for instance by arguing that it does not enhance human rights under domestic law in the United States. One such instance is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was ratified with reservations, understandings, and declarations despite having lain dormant for more than two decades.