Understanding Human, Natural, and Civil Rights and Liberties

As one of North Carolina’s most experienced and authoritative civil rights attorneys, Attorney Ralph Bryant Jr. has a passion for defending those rights. We often hear from clients and the public with questions about what a civil right actually is, though.

There are two main confusions when it comes to civil rights: the difference between human, natural, and civil rights, and the difference between civil rights and civil liberties. We want to help you answer these questions surrounding your rights so you can be better prepared to defend them if that day comes.

Human Rights Definition

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines human rights as “rights regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons.”

These rights are viewed as the most basic and fundamental rights of being a person that are recognized by the government. While they are viewed as basic and universal, different governments have different interpretations of what human rights are guaranteed at birth. Examples of this include the right against unlawful imprisonment, the right to own property, the right to live free of discrimination, and more.

Natural Rights Definition

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines natural rights as “a right considered to be conferred by natural law.”

While many people view natural and human rights as the same, the difference is actually important. Human rights need to be supported by a government while natural rights are rights viewed as guaranteed at birth without the need for government backing. Examples include the right to life, the right to make a living, the right to have a family, the right to practice religion, and more.

Civil Rights Definition

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines civil rights as “the nonpolitical rights of a citizen, especially the rights of personal liberty guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the 13th and 14th amendments of the Constitution and by acts of Congress.”

This definition requires some background knowledge of the 13th and 14th amendments, but the basic principle is that civil rights are rights that are given and guaranteed by the government to ensure all people can live equally without oppression. Examples include the right to employment, housing, education, government programs, and more.

Civil Liberties Definition

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines civil liberties as “freedom from arbitrary governmental interference (as with the right of free speech) specifically by denial of governmental power and in the U.S. especially as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.”

This definition helps clarify the distinct difference between civil rights and civil liberties. While civil rights require government action to protect individuals from unequal treatment, civil liberties limit the government’s ability to interfere with individuals. Examples include freedom of the press, religion, voting, speech, owning property, assembling, and more.

Knowing your rights

The safest and most effective means of protecting your rights is to know your rights. Each of these definitions paints a specific picture of what each term means, but you are owed each of them as a citizen of the United States.

At the law offices of Attorney Ralph Bryant Jr., we are committed to justice and will continue to fight for our client’s rights and liberties. Nothing should get in the way of the most basic and fundamental rights we have as humans. Contact us the moment you believe any of your rights are under attack.

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Ralph Bryant Law Firm

Aggressive and Compassionate Legal Representation in North Carolina | With over three decades of experience in both state and federal courts, Attorney Ralph Bryant Jr. is committed to getting you justice. Our office is in Greenville, North Carolina, but we serve clients across Eastern North Carolina and in the Triad. Regardless of your legal situation, you can count on us to bring you the best legal advice and services in the region. We don’t care what your background is or what you need from us. Our goal is to help you take power back in your life through aggressive and compassionate legal solutions. There is always hope when you work with Attorney Ralph Bryant Jr.

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