Do American citizens give up their civil rights when they join the military?

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  1. MarleneB profile image90
    MarleneBposted 11 years ago

    Do American citizens give up their civil rights when they join the military?

    My husband told me that when he joined the military, they told him he was the property of the United States. That got me to wondering if that meant he lost his civil rights while he was serving in the military.

  2. S Leretseh profile image61
    S Leretsehposted 11 years ago

    Civil rights are integration rights invented by Congress starting in 1957.  So saying "civil rights"  here is a misnomer.  I assume you mean "Constitutional rights"(?). When one joins the military he/she does give up certain rights i.e.  freedom of movement and personal decision making.  So, yes, soldiers are largely the "property" of the US gov't.  People do join voluntarily, so...

    1. roninscholar profile image55
      roninscholarposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      The bill of rights is not from 1957.

  3. Leaderofmany profile image61
    Leaderofmanyposted 11 years ago

    They are told that they are property of the US Government, and in a lot of ways they are. They are told how to dress, wear their hair, and where to go among other things. But things are improving, they used to be able to enter your home without just cause just to do an inspection or other reason, they used to be able to use physical violence to punish Soldiers, especially in boot camps, several things have changed down the years. These rights have been given to the military men and women so that they are not Government Property. But some things still remain the same and should. They should wear their uniform with pride and dignity and stay away from scandal. They are representatives of the United States.

  4. girlgonestrong profile image61
    girlgonestrongposted 11 years ago

    You give up some of them, yes.  You still get to vote, but you can no longer say anything you want about anyone.  Those in your chain of command are not up for open criticism as it is considered something that can cause dissension in the ranks and negatively impact the mission.  The President is considered the Commander in Chief, so this includes him.

  5. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image84
    TIMETRAVELER2posted 11 years ago

    People who enter the military do give  up some, but not all of their civil rights.  For example, a marine was just kicked out of the military for saying he would refuse to follow orders from the President that he disagreed with.  The President is the supreme commander of the military, and when people sign up for the military, they agree to follow all orders, whether or not they agree with them.

  6. profile image58
    kdawsonposted 11 years ago

    Yes, in many ways, but your husband made up his own mind to take the oath.

    1. MarleneB profile image90
      MarleneBposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Yes. I know he signed up for it. But, he wasn't complaining or anything like that. It's just that when he said it, I just started wondering about it.

  7. glmclendon profile image61
    glmclendonposted 11 years ago

    You become the property of the USA, and some rights you lose but you are still a citzen. Remember the mission is different than those of country side. You will not be abused and you will live through it though there are times you wonder.

  8. swordsbane profile image59
    swordsbaneposted 11 years ago

    Yes, and it's a volunteer military, so you don't have to join.  I have a problem with conscientious objectors for the same reason.  What kind of brain warp can happen to you where you think that you can join the military if you aren't prepared to kill someone?  I'm sorry.. I feel for those people who are pacifists and object to violence, but that means you STAY AWAY from jobs where you might be given a gun and told to shoot someone else.

    I understand civil rights are one of the pillars of this country's foundation (even if we're sometimes not so good at accepting that) but some things we take for granted, such as freedom of choice, freedom of speech, and even right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you must necessarily give up when you pledge yourself to the military.  It's not completely in jest when people say "You marry a soldier, you marry the military" because you do, in a lot of ways.

    That's why while I appreciate everything that the military does for us, their sacrifice and their continued defense of our freedoms, I know I couldn't be one of them.  I'm not a coward or a pacifist, or anti-military.  If our country was invaded, I'm liable to snatch a rifle and head to the front myself, just not as a soldier.  I can handle the defending my country as best I can stuff, but I can't be just another piece of the machine, which is what soldiers are, from the private all the way up to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

  9. profile image0
    Gusserposted 11 years ago

    WHAT is a "civil right" ? Can't seem to find it in the Constitution. That is the law of the land, and what each soldier pledges to defend.

    1. S Leretseh profile image61
      S Leretsehposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      The phrase "civil rights" is one of the most misused phrases I can think of. The first time I can find in history where the phrase "civil rights" was used was in 1866 with the passage of the first Civil Rights Act. Likely sprung from "Civil" War

    2. swordsbane profile image59
      swordsbaneposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      The Constitution was intended as a living document, not gospel handed down from on high.  The Amendments are part of the Bill of Rights.  The BofR is a continuation of our rights as citizens, for better or worse.  THAT is the Law of the Land.

    3. profile image0
      Gusserposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      The Bill of Rights LIMITS what the Federal Government can do. See amendment #10. The only "living" part is the ability to amend it.

    4. swordsbane profile image59
      swordsbaneposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Gusser: Technically, there is nothing in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that cannot be changed.  There is a whole process devoted to it.  That's how the "Defense of Marriage" act got there, the first amendment to limit the rights of citizens.

    5. profile image0
      Gusserposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      The Defense of Marriage act is NOT in the Constitution and the First amendment protects citizens rights, not limit them. The Government is what is limited by the Constitution.

    6. swordsbane profile image59
      swordsbaneposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Gusser:  I didn't say the DoMA was in the Constitution, except in the sense that it is a legal amendment, and it is not the "1st Amendment"  I said it was the first amendment to remove rights.  It doesn't "protect" anything.

    7. profile image0
      Gusserposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      DoMA is NOT an amendment either.  Education is your friend.

    8. roninscholar profile image55
      roninscholarposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      The bill of rights outlines your civil rights.

  10. libby101a profile image61
    libby101aposted 11 years ago

    I was in the army for six years and yes in many ways you give up your rights...but it is by choice! Nobody forces you to enlist! It's a choice!

    When you first join you go to Basic Training...which the slang word for that would be boot camp... there for the first few weeks you are belittled... brought down to nothing but feeling like a worm... then they build you back up! It's a mind game! I remember the first few weeks was torture... you would run everywhere, march everywhere, and when it was time to eat, and you were starving from burning off all your energy... you were given 30 seconds to eat... I barely ate two bites for weeks at each meal... eventually the time goes up and you learn to eat faster... but it is hard on a person at first!

    The military is good in many ways... but for some it would be rough! You are the property of the U.S. Armed forces for as long as you enlist. I had an invisible tattoo saying "property of US Army".

    I enjoyed my time with the army... not at it was hard to adjust...but once I adjusted it wasn't so bad.. it was actually quite fun and interesting and I wouldn't change a moment of it!

  11. Sheepsquatch profile image63
    Sheepsquatchposted 11 years ago

    You can lose a lot of your rights when you enlist. You are subject to random search and seisure, you can be removed from your home at any time, you can be sent abroad, you are court marshalled rather than given a trial of your peers, while at work you lose your freedom of speech, ect.. You are held to a much higher standard by your employer than if you were to take another job, and reprimands from this employer are based upon law and not company policy.

  12. Alberic O profile image55
    Alberic Oposted 11 years ago

    You give up some Constitutional Rights. But not all. Here is what's generally given up:
    1. Expression- you can have an opinion but if you are going to express it, do it discreetly. Don't be the one that goes to a protest in you military uniform, for example.
    2. Where you can go. Commanders can set outer limits on how far personnel can travel from base or area of operation while personnel are on duty or weekend. For example, when I was in Agadir, Morocco, there were off limit areas (such as prostitution houses) and we couldn't go outside the city.
    3. Obeying lawful orders that may cost you your life while in combat or conducting other designated military/civil operations.

    Giving up Civil Rights in terms of equal opportunity in the military, due process in accordance to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, freedom from discrimination in the form racial, religious, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation (because Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed) or national origin, no.

    For example, military service member has due process when he/she is charged with a crime. A service member cannot be denied work place opportunity, or promotion because of his/her race, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or national origin. These military orders and regulations based of the Civil Rights Act.

    Without Civil Rights, right to due process and discrimination (in terms of racial, sex, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity or national origin) will run rampant in the military.

  13. profile image0
    Saire Schwartzposted 11 years ago

    I believe people who join the military do give up some of their civil rights but not all of them. When you join the military, you sign a contract that hold you to certain ethics and that causes you to not be "as free" as you were before you signed the contract.


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