Student Question

What is a "right" and where do individual rights originate?

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A right can be defined as what is owed to people or allowed by people according to the law. Because rights are found in laws, governments establish what rights its citizens hold. There is a significant variation in the level of rights that are afforded citizens dependent on the type of government system is in place. In general, monarchs or dictatorships tend to limit the rights of its citizens. On the other hand, direct democracies allow citizens to enjoy a great deal of rights, since it is the citizens themselves that make the laws.

In the United States, important individual rights are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, which is a part of the United States Constitution. Many democratic countries have similar documents to ensure individual liberties.

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