Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- Civil rights and freedoms such as the freedom from enslavement, freedom from torture, and right to a fair trial.
1776, Richard Price, Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty, the Principles of Government, and the Justice and Policy of the War with America, London: Printed for T[homas] Cadell, OCLC 65353825:
- Observations on the nature of civil liberty, the principles of government, and the justice and policy of the war with America [book title].
1888, Francis Lieber, Theodore D[wight] Woolsey, editor, On Civil Liberty and Self-government, 3rd, rev. edition, Philadelphia, Pa.: J. B. Lippincott Company, OCLC 9771628, page 28:
- Civil liberty is liberty in a state of society; that is, in a state of union with equals; consequently, limitation of self-determination is one of the necessary characteristics of civil liberty.
1993, Robert P[eter] George, Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-826024-0, page 189:
- They [readers] may harbor an instinctive skepticism that a theory can be propounded which articulates a legitimate realm for morals legislation and still permits a desirable diversity of ways of life and provides principled grounds for respecting and protecting basic civil liberties such as freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly, and a right to privacy.
2009, Tom Head, chapter 1, in Civil Liberties: A Beginner's Guide, eBook edition, Oxford: OneWorld Publications, published 2012, ISBN 978-1-78074-140-6:
- There are […] liberties that most of us agree should never be restricted – such as the liberty to air opinions publicly on policy issues, or the liberty to read whatever we want to read, or the liberty to worship (or not worship) according to our own belief systems. We refer to these basic liberties, the liberties to which we believe every person is entitled, as civil liberties. There is no easy step-by-step process, no simple ten-word definition, that can tell us which liberties constitute civil liberties. Personal definitions of civil liberties tend to vary depending on what sort of laws one believes should be passed.