This is something that, to be honest, I typed up one day when I was really bored. It started out as a list of the different departments and such and grew into this huge thing now on your computer screen. Yes, I realize this makes me a total nerd, but hey, I figure somebody here might appreciate my thoughts. Know that this is all information taken from J.K. Rowling's books and universe with no intention of profit, just for the joy of trying to speculate on one aspect of the magical world she created for us. 'Muggle' (British) laws and rights I looked up and believe to be accurate, if I am incorrect in something, immediately let me know. Unfortunately I'm not from the UK. Feel free to suggest any ideas or questions regarding this information and I will do my best to incorporate them and continue to ponder. Because I'm that nerdy. So thanks you for taking the time to peruse this compiled knowledge and conjecture.
Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock
The Structure of the Government in Harry Potter
The Ministry of Magic (Believed to Encompass the Muggle United Kingdom)
Minister of Magic: Executive Head, also presides at the head of Wizengamot and is allowed to vote.
-Previous Ministers: Millicent Bagnold, Cornelius Fudge, Rufus Scrimgeour, Pius Thicknesse. Current: Kingsley Shacklebolt
Wizengamot: Encompasses Legislative and Judicial Branch
-Make and Pass Laws
-Overhear Court Cases
-Vote on Verdict
Courtrooms (Level Ten):
-It Can Be Assumed there are Ten Courtrooms At Least
-Used Usually for Serious Cases
-Lift Does No Go Down to it
Department of Mysteries (Level Nine): Handles Anything Ministry Wishes to Keep Secret
-Contains Several Doors, Some Incapable of being Opened by Any Means
-Room Devoted to Time, Including Time Turners and a Contraption that Ages and De-ages a Bird, has Same Effect on Humans
-Tank full of Brains that Attack those who come into Contact with it
-Room of Planets, Contains Model of Solar System (*This information is told Indirectly, Not Seen)
-Room of Love, Contains Cauldron of Amortentia (Love Potion), Used for Research about Love, Kept Behind Locked Door
-Hall of Prophecies, Contains Every Prophecy Ever Recorded, Prophecies can Only be Touched by Subjects of that Prophecy
-Room Containing a Archway with a Veil on a Raised Dias, can Draw People to it or Make them Wary of it, Some People Claim to Hear Voices come From it, People Can Pass Through it though it Presumably Kills Them
-Employees of this Department Called 'Unspeakables', Not Allowed to Discuss what happens in the Department with Anyone
Atrium (Level Eight):
-Main Entrance into Ministry Through
1. Floo Network
2. Telephone Booth
3. Magical Flushing Toilets (Seen in DH Only)
Department of Magical Games and Sports (Level Seven):
1. British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters
2. Official Gobstones Club
3. Ludicrous Patents Office
Department of Magical Transport (Level Six):
1. Floo Network Authority
2. Broom Regulatory Control
3. Portkey Office
4. Apparation Test Office
Department of International Magical Cooperation (Level Five):
1. International Magical Trading Standards Body
2. International Magical Office of Law
3. International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats
Department for Regulation and Control of Dangerous Creatures (Level Four):
1. Beast, Being, and Spirit Division
2. Goblin Liaison Office
3. Pest Advisory Bureau
-In charge of Creatures accused of crime
-Can have a Creature Executed
-Creature must first have trial, then an Appeal
Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes (Level Three):
1. Accidental Magical Reversal Squad
2. Obliviator Headquarters
3. Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee
Department of Magical Law Enforcement (Level Two):
1. Department of Misuse of Muggle Artifacts: Handles Enchanted/Cursed Muggle Items
-Collects Enchanted/Cursed Items that have fallen into Muggle Hands
-Conducts Raids on houses where Enchanted/Cursed Objects are suspected to be in Possession
2. Auror Headquarters
-Act as both a Police Force and small Military
-Minister Can Order them to Arrest Someone
-Occasionally do Undercover Work
-Must Pass Some Form of Test Before Given Job, Including a Stealth and Disguise Section
3. Wizengamot Administration Services
4. Improper Use of Magic Office
Minister of Magic and Support Staff (Level One):
-Contains Office of Minister
-Contains Offices of Highest Staff Members, Including Senior Undersecretary
6TH BOOK TILL UNKNOWN (Most Likely End of War)
Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects:
-Handles Objects that are Falsely Sold as Protectors and Guards Against Voldemort and the Death Eaters
7TH BOOK ONLY
Muggle-Born Registration Commission (Level Ten):
-Tries All Muggle-Borns on basis of having Stolen their Magic from a Wizard
-If Muggle-Born Does Not Provide Evidence of having a Wizard Ancestor, they are Guilty
-Fate of Guilty is Unknown
Board of Governors: In Charge of Education
-Oversees Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
-Can Suspend Headmaster/Headmistress by a Majority Vote
5TH BOOK ONLY
Hogwarts High Inquisitor: Oversees All of School
-Has Nearly All Authority (Some Powers are Still Held by Only the Headmaster/Headmistress)
-Has Control over All Student Punishments
-Inspects Teachers by Observing During Class and Interviewing
-Can Place a Teacher on Probation
-Can Sack/Fire a Teacher
-In Charge of Inquisitorial Squad
Inquisitorial Squad: Students Directly Following the High Inquisitor's Orders
-Can Add/Deduct House Points
-Can Assign Detentions
-Can Take Any Action if Directed to by the High Inquisitor
-Answers Only to High Inquisitor
International Confederation of Wizards' Statue of Secrecy: Conceal Existence of Magic from Muggles
-Wizards/Witches Forbidden from Using Magic/Revealing Existence of Magic to Muggles
Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery (1875): Wizards Younger than 17 Not Allowed to Perform Magic
-Underage Wizards Not Allowed to Perform Magic Outside School
-"Trace" Placed on All Wizards Under 17 to Monitor Magic Use
-Section Thirteen States that Those With Multiple Offences Must Attend a Disciplinary Hearing at Ministry of Magic
-***Clause Seven: Magic May Be Used Before Muggles in Exceptional Circumstances, Including Situations that Threaten the Life of the Wizard(s) or Muggle(s) Present at Time of Magic Use***
Wizengamot Charter of Rights: Protected Rights for Wizards
-An Accused Wizard has the Right to Present Witnesses for his/her case
Educational Decree Twenty-Two (August 30): Policy for Finding Teachers
-If Headmaster is Unable to Provide a Candidate for a Teaching Post, the Minstry Will Select an Appropriate Person
Educational Decree Twenty-Three: Hogwarts High Inquisitor
-Hogwarts High Inquisitor Post Created
Educational Decree Twenty-Four: Student Groups Policy
-All Student Organizations, Societies, Teams, Groups, and Clubs are henceforth disbanded.
-An Organization, Society, Team, Group, or Club is hereby defined as a regular meeting of three or more students.
-Permission to re-form may be sought from the High Inquisitor (Professor Umbridge).
-No Student Organization may exist without the knowledge and approval of the High Inquisitor.
-Any student found to have formed, or belong to, an Organization, Society, Team, Group, or Club that has not been approved by the High Inquisitor will be expelled.
Educational Decree Twenty-Five: Grants High Inquisitor Power to Handle All Student Punishments
-The High Inquisitor will henceforth have supreme authority over all punishments, sanctions, and removal of privileges pertaining to the students of Hogwarts, and the power to alter such punishments, sanctions, and removals of privileges as may have been ordered by other staff members.
Educational Decree Twenty-Six: Restriction on Teacher-Student Communication
-Teachers are hereby banned from giving students any information that is not strictly related to the students they are paid to teach.
Educational Decree Twenty-Seven: Banning of The Quibbler
-Any student found in possession of the magazine The Quibbler will be expelled.
Educational Decree Twenty-Eight: Headmaster Replacement
-Dolores Jane Umbridge (High Inquisitor) has replaced Albus Dumbledore as Head of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
***NOTE: It is Assumed that All Educational Decrees Listed are Repealed at the end of the School Year (Book Five)
Unforgivable Curses: The Imperious Curse, Cruciatus Curse, and Killing Curse
-If Any of the Curses are Used the User Will Receive Life Sentence to Azkaban
Animagi Registration: Punishment for Non-Registered
-Discovered Non-Registered Animagi Sentenced to Azkaban, Term Not Specified.
Code of Wand Use
-Clause Three: No Non-Human Creature is Permitted to Carry or Use a Wand
Ban on Experimental Breeding: Specifics of this Law Unknown
THEORIES For the Classification of Government
The Minister has way too much control for the government to be for the people. Not only is he at the head of the Executive Branch enforcing the law, he also is the Head of the Wizengamot and is allowed to vote on laws and the verdicts of accused wizards. Sure, it's said he's elected, but what evidence do we have of elections in the books? For all we know, a committee of Ministry Officials is the one who elects the Minister, not the people. And the Wizengamot members have to be appointed; there are way too many influential old guys and Ministry Officials themselves sitting on those benches for it to be a fair election. And how can a person be judged fairly on whether or not he/she broke the law if the ones who are judging wrote the law themselves? There's no room for fair interpretation. Some people didn't get trials before being sentenced. Opposition to the main policies of the Ministry is ridiculed and squashed by the Ministry-controlled media, or sent off to Azkaban to have their soul sucked out. They are prejudiced towards other magical creatures, not letting any of them possess wands of their own, making them work like slaves, and encroaching on their land, all the while making creatures like the goblins handle the tedious workings of the economy, but giving them no credit. Muggles, humans themselves, are also considered inferior, and are Obliviated or murdered without a second thought. And what about Umbridge's absolute control over the lives of the students at Hogwarts in OotP? The Totalitarian rule of the Death Eaters at the end was only exposing what many of us knew the whole time.
2. Elected Enlightened Despotism
The Minister of Magic is elected by the people, who choose him because they believe he will make the right decisions for their world. He has the Wizengamot so that people's ideas can be heard, but ultimately makes the decision for himself after careful consideration. The Departments working underneath are given specific instructions from the top, so that wizarding life is orderly, but not too controlled. Sure, not all of the famous rights of Freedom of Speech and Expression are protected, but it's not that necessary since the best man was elected as the Head of Government. And hey, since he is elected, if he doesn't follow what the people want, they can impeach him and elect someone else who will do the job right.
3. Legislative Monarchy
The Minister is at the Head of the Government, but he doesn't have all the decision power. The Wizengamot is allowed to propose laws and vote on them, plus they get a say in court trials too. While the Minister does get to participate in much of the government, it he does not do his job well and listen to the Wizengamot which represents the people, he will be impeached. It's a delicate balance of power, but when balanced properly, is an effective form of government.
4. Republic/Representative Democracy
The Minister of Magic and the Wizengamot members are elected to their positions by the people, and consider what the common person wants when making decisions. The Minister does get a vote in the Legislative and Judicial Branches, but it's only one vote which can easily be overpowered by the other members if it's the wrong decision for the magical community. Both Minister and Wizengamot must follow the laws that they set up for their society, just like any other person. Also, government jobs are open to anyone provided they have all the requirements for the job, so the entire Wizarding World can get involved with their government and keep well informed. While wizards are big on tradition, change and reform can happen provided with enough support, proving that the government truly listens to the desires of the people. The government doesn't control everything, such as the Wizarding Banking System run by the Goblins at Gringotts, and Hogwarts is only supervised by a Board of Governors who is there just to make sure the students are safe and being taught what they need to and should know. The Ministry of Magic is a government for the people.
Unanswered Questions and Speculated Answers (Again, the answers are mostly theories, though I will try to use evidence from the books themselves as much as possible)
1. Just What Is the Relationship Between the Ministry and the Muggle Government of Great Britain?
The most interaction we see between these co-existing government bodies is through their leaders, specifically between the Minister of Magic and the Prime Minister of Great Britain (These titles will be abbreviated as MoM and PM, respectively). However, just how much, and well, do they work together? In book six of the series, also abbreviated as HBP, the PM receives a last minute notice that the MoM requests a meeting, and the aforementioned wizard simply Floos into the man's office a short while later. This seems a great breach of security, as since the PM office is connected to the Floo Network, anyone (Voldemort perhaps?) could Floo in quickly, kill the man, and make a quick escape.
Also, is the PM ever able to contact the MoM and set up a meeting himself? Or is he sitting there waiting for scraps of news pertaining to incidents in the magical community that the Ministry cannot control?
Sadly, this seems the case as the PM in HBP reflects and reveals to the readers that the only time the MoM ever appears (at the time, Cornelius Fudge) is when a crisis in the Wizarding World could possibly affect the Muggle community (for example, the breakout of Sirius Black, who had previously been accused of killing twelve Muggles, or the return of Voldemort, a known Muggle hater). However, he is quickly reassured that the Ministry will handle it and that there is no need to worry.
But how can the PM do anything but? The citizens of the nation that he is in charge of and has sworn to protect can come under attack at any time, depending on the whim of a wizard, and he cannot truly inform the public of this danger as would be his duty, due to the Statue of Secrecy. That and the public would think he went absolutely bonkers. In PoA, the third book, the Muggle community is warned of the escaped criminal Sirius Black, but is led to believe that he is armed only with a gun. Perhaps this is worse than ignorance. Misinforming thousands of people about a dangerous criminal and his arsenal could endanger many people, such as any police who could find him and try to take him in. Fortunately for the Muggles, Sirius was not really a killer, but what about the ten escaped Death Eaters in OotP, the fifth book, or Voldemort's public and Ministry acknowledged return in HBP? If told they simply carry guns, it would be like telling people that terrorists are armed with water pistols. It's putting countless lives in danger, all because of wizards' fear of being discovered.
And is the magical community ever informed of escaped Muggle criminals? There is no evidence to suggest this in the books, and to be honest it's hard to believe wizards would take such a warning seriously anyway, seeing as most feel a superiority to Muggles and are ignorant of the goings on in the world just beyond their sheltered homes.
In conclusion, the cooperation between the Muggle and wizard governments seems incredibly one-sided, and seems to exist just so the PM at least can try to fight in the dark against something he hardly knows about, and so the wizards can keep living comfortably on British soil. The safety of the Muggle populace is severely overlooked, and there most likely have been some rough spots in this shaky alliance. Something tells me that "So a wizard named Grindelwald has been killing Muggles and trying to dominate the world so wizards can rule the roost, but don't worry, we sent his old friend to go duel him, so it's all taken care of" would not go over well with Winston Churchill.
2. How Much Control Does the Muggle Government Have Over Wizards? Are Wizards (Specifically Purebloods) Even British Citizens?
It would be reasonable to assume that the Muggle government has some control over the wizards, seeing as they live on their land and make the PM (in earlier years I assume the monarch) swear not to reveal their existence. For Muggleborn and even Half-blood wizards, they have to be listed as British citizens, and thus are protected by certain rights.
However, what of purebloods? As they sadly almost never make an entry into Muggle society, one would think they would go unnoticed. But that cannot be true. For one, that would mean that Muggle population estimates are way off. For another, it would be impossible for pureblood wizards to live their lavish lives. Malfoy Manor, for example is on British land, and therefore must have been purchased by the Malfoys at some point, which would have to be on record, or the land could accidentally be sold to someone in the Muggle community, which would cause all sorts of mayhem. Therefore the current Malfoy head must have the deed in his name, and must probably keep record of his household. This holds for all the other pureblood families. Thus, whether they like it or not, in being allowed to buy and own property on British soil, they are citizens of the Muggle United Kingdom, even if they don't participate much.
As this has been established, it raises many questions. As citizens they must obey the laws of the British government which Parliament passes, in order to have those rights (such as those of property) protected. Does this mean that, for example, they must pay taxes to the British Muggle government? Taxes are never mentioned in the series, whether of Muggle or magical nature, so there is nothing proven to go on. However, it stands to good reason that they must, as they own property and occasionally use other Muggle conveniences, such as transit. This also makes one wonder if the Ministry has its own tax placed that must be paid, but as no taxing laws have ever been mentioned, and a second tax to a separate federal government would be both unfair and would cripple poorer families such as the Weasleys, it can be assumed there is no Ministry tax. Also, whether or not Muggle parents of magical children should pay taxes would bring about much confusion. That first makes one wonder how the Ministry is able to pay for anything, and then it dawns on said person that there must have been a reason Fudge was so happy about Lucius Malfoy's many donations.
Thus it is reasonable to believe that members of the Wizarding World must follow all laws passed by Parliament. Whether they actually do is another question.
3. Magical Creatures (Such as House-Elves or Centaurs) are Able to Think and Act for Themselves. Does this also Make Them Citizens in the Eyes of Muggle British Law?
Let me first address the issue of House-Elves. If we are to assume that all wizards are British citizens, and therefore must obey all laws, then House-Elves are clearly unlawful, as slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. Wizards who own House-Elves are very obviously breaking this law; no matter how much the House-Elves like to work, slavery in the British Empire is illegal. This then renders House-Elves free citizens (and basically makes Hermione's S.P.E.W. movement insignificant. Better luck next time, Granger). Of course, all House-Elves could go to work as maids, butlers, dishwashers, and other assorted jobs as they so wished, but under the law they should not have owners, and also should have all the benefits won by Muggle labor unions as well. On that note it is also illegal to abuse House-Elves, such as Dobby, as he has the right to protection from bodily harm. Also Winky, for example, could be fired by Crouch Sr.; it was perfectly legal (although his previous 'owning' of her was not). However, let us say that instead Mr. Diggory was going to do as he had been planning, which was to probably throw her in Azkaban for -gasp- picking up a wizard's wand. This. Is. Illegal. According to Muggle British law. Since Winky is able to think on the same intellectual level as humans (unlike Buckbeak, an animal) she should have due process of law. But even then, if taken up in a Muggle court, the case would probably be dismissed, as Winky is a citizen of Great Britain with magical capabilities, and perhaps Clause Three of the Code of Wand Use would be rendered unconstitutional, as it discriminates against those of different race. Much of this is the same for the Goblins and Centaurs, who are of human intelligence as well (Ministry, this basically means, quit pulling an Andrew Jackson and get off the Centaurs' land). A lot of turnover would be seen in the wizarding world if the Muggle world was allowed to know of its magical subjects' discrepancies.
Other magical species who can communicate (such as Giants and even Dementors) are harder to figure out. They are obvious dangers to society, but aren't quite beasts that could be determined 'dangerous' and then executed. We even see evidence that Giants can be taught to interact with humans in a sociably acceptable way. But is this what most of them, or any of the Dementors, want? Truthfully, no, that's not their natural way of life. Creatures such as Giants then, could maybe be given certain areas of land where they can live that are protected by magical wards that keep both wizards and giants safe. That means no more giant hunting or human massacres. Dementors should really never have existed in the first place and are a very, very, very serious threat to all British citizens and should be destroyed as quickly and painlessly as possible.
In conclusion, the rights of many magical species and loyal British citizens are being overlooked and denied. The Ministry is incredibly out of bounds and in very illegal territory. Perhaps Fudge isn't having Goblins baked in pies as The Quibbler claims in OotP, but he, his predecessors, and his successors so far are breaking the law.
4. How Well Are the Rights of Wizards and Muggles Protected?
To be honest: Not very well at all.
Let us first start with wizards. There is the obvious discrimination against people not of Pureblood status, bordering on the ferocity and unfairness of Nazi Germany. Though wizards and witches are all human, no matter whom their parents are, many Purebloods still uphold themselves as being superior, like the way Hitler gave some people the title of 'Aryan'. Muggleborns and Half-bloods are seen as different races, no matter their actual ethnicity, which is both scientifically and morally wrong. The wizards such as Dolores Umbridge and her Death Eater cohort Yaxley are no better in DH, the final installment to the series, than the SS troops, arresting and sending Muggleborns to Azkaban for 'stealing their magic' and posing as a 'danger to wizard society'. It is the same as the Nazi's blaming the Jews, Gypsies, and others for causing all of post-World War I Germany's problems. And Azkaban is the same if not worse than a Nazi death camp.
Sadly, this is only the peak of the cruelty. Throughout the entire series, Half-blood and Muggleborn wizards are discriminated against constantly, with a basilisk roaming the school and nearly killing many Muggleborn students during the second book, CoS.
No matter what your ambitions, if you're a Muggleborn forget about entering Slytherin house unless you have a death wish. That particular house, most of them referring to Muggleborns as 'mudbloods' a derogatory term literally meaning dirty blood (though again that is not even remotely scientifically true), hardly accept Half-bloods into their house, and those that do enter must strive desperately for respect and success, while the pureblood members are instantly accepted.
This, in turn, makes many of the other students prejudiced against Slytherin house specifically, and creates the infamous house rivalry. All the fighting and prejudice has caused wars, split families, killed countless, and yet the Ministry fans the flames by doing nothing about it, or worse, listening to wealthy purebloods prominent in society who slow or stop the change that needs to happen.
This whole giant section hasn't even encompassed the clear disregard of judicial rights that have been denied in the series. For this, the best example is Harry's trial in OotP. He is given a speedy trial (even though the Minister had the time and place secretly changed to make the teenager look bad in front of the Wizengamot), but he is not given legal aid, which he is entitled to under British law, both magical and Muggle. Had Dumbledore not stepped in on the boy's behalf, Harry would have probably rotted away in Azkaban during his fifth year. Also, Fudge is hardly able to prove the boy guilty, violating the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty, while Dumbledore provides a witness to recount the scene of the 'crime'. Harry's 'jury', the full Wizengamot, is also hardly able to even question Harry, as Fudge cuts him off nearly every time. They are never given the full story, otherwise they would have realized Harry had not broken any law; he is allowed to protect himself and others in life-threatening situation, and the Muggle he supposedly 'revealed' magic to was his cousin who had known about magic for the past five years. A misinformed jury cannot make a correct decision. Sirius Black, on the other hand, is denied all of these rights and is sent straight to life imprisonment in Azkaban. This. Is. Illegal. Again. No matter what horrendous crime everyone was under the impression he committed (Why did no one check for a Dark Mark?), he is required under law to be given a fair trial. He did not receive one.
The Ministry also denies students at Hogwarts freedom to express their opinions on Ministry actions or to assemble unless approved of by Dolores Umbridge. It also no secret that the Ministry is illegally controlling the Daily Prophet, this information being given to us by Rita Skeeter who for once is actually serious and correct. Umbridge also searches students' property, questions them without real cause, causes them bodily harm, and countless other violations of basic rights guaranteed to British citizens.
I give the Squibs a separate section as they truly are unique and also cruelly treated. Many Squibs who are born to magical parents are rejected, disowned, or forgotten. A few are lucky enough to be accepted by their families, but can never experience or share in the magic that surrounds them. Squibs can see everything magical going on around them, such as ghosts, moving portraits, or even Dementors, so they can't simply fade into Muggle society and completely forget, although some most likely try. But they cannot perform magic themselves and therefore are barred from ever really joining magical society, of going to Hogwarts, learning magic, or anything else.
Some, like Argus Filch, take jobs in the wizarding world, but these are low class jobs such as being Care Taker for Hogwarts. Filch must clean everything by hand while he watches students grow, practice magic, and reach high-paying, satisfying careers he can never dream to achieve. That coupled with dealing with all the magical mayhem with no way to really defend himself, naturally makes him a bitter man, although maybe if he stopped wanting to torture students, more people would like him.
Others, like Arabella Figg, live more on the Muggle side of things, perhaps keeping in touch with friends in the wizarding world so they are up to date. Mrs. Figg is technically a part of the Order of the Phoenix, although she can't really join the fight, and instead watches Harry Potter for Dumbledore during the summers. This is dangerous for her in OotP, as the Order is a secret operation that the Ministry is against. She even serves as a witness in Harry's trial, going into the impressive and no doubt intimidating Ministry full of wizards. What does she get in return? Ridiculed by Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, and no doubt other members of the Wizengamot. What did Mrs. Figg ever do to deserve this? She was born without magical powers, something beyond her control.
To those Squibs who are dropped off in orphanages across Muggle Britain and grow up never knowing, better luck to your descendents; although they will be ridiculed as Muggleborns, perhaps they will affect some kind of change to make sure no child is abandoned for something not their fault again.
Half-breeds' rights are obviously not protected, so this shall be brief. Whether it's the werewolf regulations passed by Umbridge in OotP or Rita's scathing article about Hagrid's background in the fourth book, GoF, it's wrong. That is not only discrimination, it's disregarding people's rights to having a private life. As long as the Ministry has records on who is a werewolf so that they can make sure they aren't hurting anybody, no one else need know. It causes pain and torment for those already suffering such a horrible curse. I personally also don't care about how much of a 'hero' one Severus Snape is in the later books. What he revealed about Professor Remus Lupin to the ENTIRE school in the Great Hall while the poor man was recovering was childish, spiteful, unwarranted, private, discriminatory, and wrong. And he did it on purpose, knowing it would destroy the man's career and any chance at a stable life and income he had all because he was throwing a hissy fit about Sirius Black escaping and wanted revenge. That's not cool, heroic in anyway, and is frankly quite racist. Half-breed discrimination is wrong, and Hagrid also should have gotten a trial after being accused of opening the Chamber of Secrets, instead of being immediately expelled. Riddle played on wizarding prejudice, knowing it would work, and also destroyed Hagrid's life, because he too was throwing a hissy fit about the school closing. Both of these cases show just how much trouble is caused by not protecting Half-breed rights.
Now finally is the worst of all: the blatant disrespect and disregard for Muggles' rights. Muggles are discriminated against in the wizarding world even worse than Muggleborns, Squibs, and Half-breeds, although they never know this. Wizards watch as Muggles toil away somehow managing to live without magic, and think they are superior, that their way of life is better. Even Mr. Weasley, obsessed with everything Muggle, smiles fondly when thinking of their struggles and ignorance of magic and says, 'Bless them' as though they are silly little children who will never learn. In DH during the illegal broadcast of Potterwatch, Lee Jordan talks about individual wizards who have been killed then says that a family a five Muggles was also killed. Does no one care to know these Muggles' names or identities, these Muggles whose lives had been claimed in a conflict they knew nothing about? Even the name 'Muggle' itself is so derogatory. Who really wants to be knowingly called a Muggle? In The Prince's Tale chapter in DH you clearly see Petunia react negatively to the name, without even knowing its meaning. Is it so much effort to say 'non-magical'?
Not only do they get left in the dark with no defense against unseen danger, ridiculed unknowingly by fellow human beings who think of them as filth, killed just because they lack magical abilities, and are tortured, paraded around, and manipulated by magic, those Muggles that actually do see the truth, who don't have magical relatives, are Obliviated. This tricky memory charm is one even the brilliant Hermione can't quite handle, and the supposed 'expert' on them, the fraud Gilderoy Lockhart, tries to perform one with a faulty wand and ends up wiping his own entire memory and lives out the rest of his life in St. Mungo's. What if a memory charm used on a Muggle goes wrong? Are they taken to St. Mungo's or just abandoned, life ruined and forgotten? Memory charms are clearly a violation of the mind on the highest level, perhaps even worse than reading someone's mind, because once your memory is wiped, it will usually never return. A powerful memory charm placed on Bertha Jorkins by Crouch Sr. is removed in GoF by Voldemort, causing the witch to go insane. He then kills her. Why should Muggles have their memories wiped for seeing magic? It was the wizard's fault for not being careful. And is it really such a crime for Muggles to know about magic? Civilization has advanced to the point where people aren't burned at the stake for being a witch.
It is very clear the Ministry does not recognize rights that should be guaranteed to all citizens, magical or not. This refusal to acknowledge such rights has resulted in nothing but hurt, pain, and even death. How much more must be lost before the Ministry sees the error of its ways?
5. Just Who Owns Hogwarts, Anyway?
This is something that's been left rather alone, but it's rather important. Let's review what we know about Hogwart's History.
Hogwarts was originally founded by Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin, all notable wizards of the time. How they received ownership of the castle is unknown, though perhaps it belonged to one of the founders themselves. Not sure why they picked the name Hogwarts though.
The school was instant success, but unfortunately Gryffindor and Slytherin started fighting and Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff stood to the side watching with mild interest, though standing more on Gryffindor's side: The beginning of a long and glorious tradition. For some reason, the four had decided that sorting students into four different houses (Named after themselves, no less. Egotistical jerks.), and having them compete in sports and for house points was the Best Idea Ever. Not only that, but they had divided on the issue of blood supremacy. After awhile, Salazar left the school in a blind rage never to return, although one would expect him to bide his time until Godric, who is characterized for his brash decisions, left instead. But nobody liked Slytherin back then either. This really leaves the question of why they still kept Slytherin house, since he'd left, but...whatever. So now the ownership was down to three. So far, it seems the school is more privately owned, as it's not clear from the books of when the Ministry was formed.
Anyway, the founders got old and died, but Rowena's only daughter killed herself before marrying or having kids, so Ravenclaw was out of the running. There isn't much on Godric's descendents, so for the sake of not having information, we'll assume he didn't have kids. This just leaves Hufflepuff.
So probably sometime during all this, the Ministry of Magic had formed, and now wheedled the school out of Hufflepuff control, replacing that with a Headmaster who ruled the roost, though with a Deputy Headmaster since apparently Hogwarts takes place in the Wild West. Just kidding.
Now while the Ministry is able to pass laws concerning the school and has its Board of Governors to try and control things, Dumbledore is really able to get away with too much for the school to be federally run. Also, it mentions early in the first book, SS, about the price of enrollment, which points to the school being privately owned. But who exactly owns it? Dumbledore gets kicked out so many times that it's doubtful that the Headmaster has ownership. Perhaps the members of the Board of Governors equally share?
It could also be that it's a mix of Ministry and private owners, since wizards don't seem to pay attention to legal matters or balance of power already anyway. If so, that's...boring. The one who controls Hogwarts controls the heart and future of the wizarding world. This person or persons should be correctly identified. Suggestions and opinions are welcome.