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Freedom and Equality

This pathway leads participants to explore two fundamental, highly cherished principles of American constitutional democracy—freedom and equality. Participants examine how the principles are related. They study how individuals and groups have secured freedom and equality under law, which has sometimes involved using the law to challenge the status quo.

Concepts and Topics

  • civil liberties
  • equal protection of the law/Fourteenth Amendment
  • incorporation/application of Bill of Rights to states
  • relationship of political to social equality
  • linking political freedom to equality/Declaration of Independence/Gettysburg Address
  • affirmative action/equality of opportunity
  • expanding the franchise/voting rights amendments and legislation
  • civil rights, women’s and gay rights movements/equal rights

Suggested Cases

Ex parte Merryman, Susan B. Anthony trial, Scottsboro trials, Plessy v. Ferguson, Sheriff Shipp trial, Brown v. Board of Education,"Mississippi Burning" trial, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, Grutter/Gratz v. Bollinger, U.S. v. Virginia, Romer v. Evans