Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory. Rights are of essential importance in such disciplines as law and ethics, especially theories of justice and deontology.
Rights are often considered fundamental to civilization, being regarded as established pillars of society and culture, and the history of social conflicts can be found in the history of each right and its development. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "rights structure the form of governments, the content of laws, and the shape of morality as it is currently perceived." The connection between rights and struggle cannot be overstated — rights are not as much granted or endowed as they are fought for and claimed, and the essence of struggles past and ancient are encoded in the spirit of current concepts of rights and their modern formulations.
Famous quotes containing the word rights:
“The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved.”
—Emma Goldman (18691940)
“Is a Bill of Rights a security for [religious liberty]? If there were but one sect in America, a Bill of Rights would be a small protection for liberty.... Freedom derives from a multiplicity of sects, which pervade America, and which is the best and only security for religious liberty in any society. For where there is such a variety of sects, there cannot be a majority of any one sect to oppress and persecute the rest.”
—James Madison (17511836)
“I have known no experience more distressing than the discovery that Negroes didnt love me. Unutterable loneliness claimed me. I felt without roots, like a man without a country ...”
—Sarah Patton Boyle, U.S. civil rights activist and author. The Desegregated Heart, part 1, ch. 10 (1962)