Natural Rights

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Natural rights are rights people always need and seek, regardless of what they believe or where they live. British philosopher John Locke held these rights to be life, liberty, and property. Life because people must live free from threats to their security; liberty because people need to be free to make their own decisions; and property because people must be free to gain economic goods such as land, houses, tools, and money. Locke claimed that everyone is born with these God-decreed rights. These rights, he said, are the essence of humanity.

Thomas Jefferson agreed that natural rights are self-evident and unalienable because they are part of human nature. They are self-evident and unalienable because nature and providence have entitled these rights to every human being and they may not be taken away. Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, "all men are created equal" and that the main purpose of government is the protection of these natural rights.

A right may be described as a claim to have or obtain something, or to act in a way that is justified on legal or moral grounds. In addition to natural rights, what other rights are codified by the American government? All of the rights in the Bill of Rights. Civil rights. Political rights. And due process rights. All of these rights are conceived by the morality and supported by the laws of America. The Bill of Rights is a list of individual rights and liberties including freedom of speech, religion, and the press. Civil Rights secure freedom of conscience and privacy and protect from unfair discrimination. Political rights are the right to vote or run for office"”participating in our own governance. Due process of law is the protection against arbitrary deprivation of life, liberty, or property. With due process, the laws...

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