8 Important Laws You Need to Know as an American Citizen

The founding fathers designed the United States Constitution based on the belief that all Americans have the right to civil liberties, life, and the pursuit of happiness. Rights are legitimate, collective, or moral codes of freedom or privilege. The Bill of Rights was included in the U.S. Constitution to define the rights of American citizens further and to prohibit Congress from making laws that restrict those rights.

A law is an instruction for behavior that is legally binding and enforced by a government or agencies of government. It is pertinent to note that these rules can be changed or amended over time, depending on the situation. In the United States, federal laws apply to every person. In contrast, state and local laws may differ by locality and refer to persons who are residents and work in a specific city, town, state, county, or municipality.

You must comprehend and understand the law to some degree. Have you been in many circumstances where you’ve been victimized, discriminated against, or taken advantage of, and you didn’t act since you weren’t sure whether you can or not? It is essential to know that written law is a sort of safety measure for American residents. If you understand your rights and expound them in circumstances where they may be threatened, you would be able to receive what the founding fathers intended for you.

This article provides you with some essential federal laws you should know as an American citizen.

1.  The Social Security Act (1835)

The SSA was an entitlement platform initially developed to offer support to those incapable of work. This method employed a method of reimbursement in which employed persons support older people. 

The U.S. social security coverage culminates from assistance in the form of taxes on wages and payrolls rather than right from Government coffers. The act benefits the unemployed, the blind, and children; to develop occupational teaching programs; and deliver domestic health plans.

It also aids the physically disabled, victims of industrial accidents, and dependent mothers.  The Social Security Board has the duty of data capturing citizens for benefits, handling donations received by the Federal Government, and giving out funds to recipients. Before the social security initiative, the aged customarily encountered the likelihood of poverty after retirement. For the most part, that fear has now dispelled.

2.  Freedom of Information Act

The freedom of information act (FOIA) gives everyone the right to see and use records from any government establishment. The law lets citizens know happenings in government. Federal agencies must disclose any information requested under this act with exemptions to personal privacy, law enforcement, and classified information. Under this law, any individual can make a request. Institutions of government are obligated to post information online, which you may access through this website.

3.  The Pendleton Act (1883)

This law stops persons with federal careers from being employed or dismissed based on political associations or connections to politicians. This civil service act provided an instrument for the selection of public servants through competitive examinations. It made it illegal to demote government officials due to political reasons. Similarly, this act dissuades political campaigns from asking for donations on federal assets.

4.  The G.I. Bill of Rights (Servicemen’s Readjustment Act) (1944)

Servicemen’s Readjustment Act offers assistance, including monetary, to all veterans of WWII. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed it on June 22, 1944. It also provides education, low-interest loans, low-cost mortgages and hospitals, and 12 months’ unemployment benefits for veterans. It readjusted to include veterans from the Vietnam and Korean wars; it now serves all those who have served in the armed forces.

5.  The Patriot Act (2001)

This act was passed into law in 2001; it aims to guard against terrorist activities. It contains several provisions that enable law enforcement agencies to acquire information and survey terrorists. Therefore, this legislation increases its capacity to spot and prevent terrorism.  Furthermore, it provides the power to punish terrorism in wide-ranging ways than it used to be.

6.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964

It is a landmark civil rights and labor law in America that dissuades segregation of any type. It bans any discrimination centered on race, national affiliation, gender, religion, or checking biased voting registration prerequisites and segregation in open spaces. It also guarantees equal protection and voting rights for all citizens.

7.  No Child Left Behind (2001)

The No Child Left Behind Act provided schools, specifically for disadvantaged districts, with funds and capitals to reduce the success gap among separate school districts. Its goal is to make sure that no child would be short of an excellent education. States must set yearly targets for students’ proficiency in reading and mathematics and make sure that they reach that goal annually.

8.  The Privacy Act

Federal agencies generate data on each person who served in the armed forces, ever paid taxes, applied for a social benefit, or directly related to any government institution. The act intends to stabilize the government’s need to keep data about individuals with the need to shield them from unnecessary intrusions of privacy. 

If you’re an American citizen or permanent resident, you have the right through the Privacy Act to view and amend any data the government stores about you.

Some of your rights under the Privacy Act include:

  • Access documents about your individual information, subject to a few exceptions.
  • Modify a file that is incorrect or inadequate.
  • Take legal action against the government for infringing the rule for inappropriate leaks.

You should also check: