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Read the following essay and answer the question, “Why do our civil liberties matter?”

Feel free to submit your essay below for review or contribute your thoughts on other essays posted. Both activities will help you prepare for the exam and the more you contribute, the more you will get out of this section.


Civil Liberties


It is easy to forget that unlike your parents, and perhaps much like the students from Venus who have never seen the sun in Ray Bradbury’s All Summer in a Day essay prompt, you have never known a world without restrictions on civil liberties in the name of protection from the war on terror. The Patriot Act, whistleblowers, and NSA spying are accepted facts of life: they are the new ‘normal’ and the only paradigm you have known in your lifetime. However, generations of Americans prior to 2001, dating all the way back to the founding fathers experienced a different paradigm in part due to one patriot who preferred the consequence of death to the absence of liberty when he famously stated, “Give me liberty or give me death!”

In honor of Patrick Henry, it is worth reflecting on the subject of civil liberties and our freedom. Why do our civil liberties matter?

“Why do our civil liberties matter?”

Your essay should be well-organized and include support from the story for your main ideas.

If commenting on the essays please remember the rules and stick with positive suggestions that can help the author. Focus on the essay structure and quality. The following guidelines are by no means compete, but can serve as a guide for useful suggestions.

  • Quality and impact of thesis statement and opening paragraph. This may be the most important paragraph. Does it provide a roadmap for the essay?
  • Supporting paragraphs. Do these follow the outline of the 1st paragraph? Do they use explicit examples and not deviate unnecessarily from topic?
  • Prose. Are the sentences direct and effective with proper grammar and correct spelling?
  • Conclusion. Perhaps the least important paragraph. Does it wrap it all up?
This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Imagine if someone was whispering behind your back about about you, and you could make out some of it. ” His skin is so black. Ew.” How would you feel? Everyone in this world has a right to live freely and independently, so if some other person was making these offensive comments about you, how would you react? As you may see, since everyone has freedom of speech, they think they can say or do whatever they want, but it comes in limits. Also, it isn’t anybody’s fault that they are what they are, and there’s no point to bring it up.

    Freedom of speech is a great amendment, and everyone in this land can feel free to express their feelings. But, it comes in one condition, and that it when you offend or violate another person’s skin color, race, religion, etc. Everyone is meant to live together, not caring about one another’s looks, and if that doesn’t work out, it could possibly mean a lot of controversies, or possibly war. Being able to say what you want freely is great and all, but you should never use that to your advantage, especially to hurt other people. They are meant to be free as well.

    Also, it’s no one’s fault that they are who God made them, and they should feel special about it. No one should ever brag that just because they are one color and someone is another, because we are all humans meant to live together. When Patrick Henry famously stated, ” Give me liberty or give me death,” he obviously meant that he wanted to live free of all the controversies and do whatever he wanted. That’s how many people feel if someone said anything hurtful about them; they almost feel as if they are being kept under control by other people and feel as if they are less important.

    As you may see, freedom of speech and being who you are two key points in living life the right way. Humans-no matter how much different they look from each other-are meant to live together, not apart. We are all at a equal level, and no one should feel as if they are lower than the people around them. If we treat everyone the way they want to be treated, this world would be a better place to live in.

  2. I am a little unsure what your thesis statement is in response to the prompt. Why do civil liberties matter? I interpret your answer to be, “Civl liberties matter because nobody deserves to have their feelings hurt.” In the introduction, I think you could make a stronger thesis statement and provide a road map for the points you intend to argue in the body paragraphs in support of the thesis. Be careful of your references to “it”. These are vague pronouns. It may be better to say specifically what “it” is.

    The second paragraph states that freedom of speech is great. How exactly does that answer the prompt? Once the thesis statement becomes unclear or lacks precision, then the supporting arguments kind of wander as well. In general, I would try to avoid too casual language and make certain to write in a high school level voice. Examples include ,”is great and all.” Find a more precise word or phrase. Also ” he (PH) obviously meant that he wanted …to do whatever he wanted.” I do not think PH wanted to do whatever he wanted, and it is by no means obvious. Be careful about assuming something is obvious when it is not. I would add grammar as a general point. It is an important part of writing in a HS level voice. Review of individual grammar issues would be a lengthier review.

    I do like the final sentence or two. Civil liberties help make the world a better place to live. That might even be a stronger thesis and a point you might use in the introduction. Keep up the effort. If you first work on keeping the thesis clean and clear and organize your arguments effectively around that thesis, then you will see significant gains. Then we can focus more on the grammar and related issues.

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