Rights vs Freedom: Difference and Comparison

Rights and the term freedom appear in various places in constitutions worldwide. Freedom is one of the core concepts of the American Constitution. 

Frequently, the terms are interchangeable. In most scenarios, they mean the same thing. Taking away someone right also means taking away their freedom. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Rights refer to legal or moral entitlements that allow individuals to act or be treated in a certain way. In contrast, freedom refers to the absence of constraints or restrictions on an individual’s actions.
  2. Rights are enforced by laws or governments, while freedom is an abstract concept that can be difficult to define and measure.
  3. Rights can be limited or restricted in certain circumstances, while freedom is considered a fundamental human value and is protected by laws and constitutions.

Rights vs Freedom

The difference between a right and freedom is a right is an entitlement to a given thing. For example, a person working at a job can receive their salary per the contract. However, freedom is the state where a government cannot restrict a person from performing a certain activity. However, this activity has to be within the bounds of the law. 

Rights vs Freedom

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRightsFreedom
RestrictionsA person or governing body cannot violate the rights of another person without facing legal consequences.A person or governing body can remove a person’s freedom to carry out an activity.
AdvantagesSociety is legally obliged to uphold the rights of its people. This decreases events of injustice that occur.The advantage of freedom is that one can be an independent individual. 
DurationRights may come at different times. The rights a person receives also differ from other people.Freedom can be taken away or given to someone at any time. It is not permanent like a right.
Method of receiving A person receives legal rights only after becoming a citizen or performing a certain duty.A person receives certain freedoms at birth itself. This implies that it is an innate notion.

What are Rights? 

A right is an entitlement one receives when one becomes part of society.

Also Read:  Review vs Curative Petition: Difference and Comparison

Depending on various factors, humans can get different types of rights throughout their lives. 

A few factors are: 

  1. Age
  2. Nationality
  3. Occupation
  4. Education

A right can be given based on an individual’s economic, social, and political standing. A country confers national rights to a citizen. These rights are a core component of a country’s constitution.

A few common rights that are given to a citizen by their government is: 

  1. Right to Education 
  2. Right to Freedom of Thought
  3. Right to Freedom of Religion 
  4. Right to Life
  5. Right to Freedom of Movement
  6. Right to Freedom of Expression

These are the basic rights that most countries offer their citizens, and they also abide by them.

Any infringement on these rights can be punishable by law. This is especially true for one individual, taking away the rights of another individual. 

An individual also receives rights because they are human. These are known as human rights. Human rights were the creation of the United Nations.

The meeting wherein the outline of Human rights was given was under the guidance of Eleanor Roosevelt. There are around 30 human rights that make up the Human Rights Act.

The human rights include:

  1. Right to freedom of life
  2. Rights Against Slavery
  3. Rights against Inhuman treatment and torture
  4. Right to equality
  5. Right to a fair trial and many more. 

In case these rights are violated, the United Nations cannot prosecute an individual. However, it can refer to the offence to their respective nation. 

The role of a right is to ensure that a person receives a type of freedom or protection. 


What is Freedom? 

Freedom is a state where a person can carry out different activities without interference from other individuals or authorities. This is an emotional entity. It is also objective.

This means that the term freedom can mean different things to different people. People can have different perceptions of freedom depending on different factors. They are: 

  1. Upbringing
  2. Education
  3. Location
  4. Occupation 
  5. Race

Freedom is a product of rights. This means that a person can receive freedom only when he or she has been given rights. 

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Freedom is also an essential component of human society. Freedom allows one to live a happier and healthier life. It is a requirement for one to express themselves. 

The want for freedom has been a driving cause for many political parties and social groups. Freedom became the aim of many of the colonized nations.

This was especially seen in countries like Scotland, the United States of America, and most third-world countries. 

Freedom is an entity that comes with a person when they are born into this world. It allows someone to become independent and form their personality.

This type of personal freedom is an important component of personal development. 

Since time immemorial, groups of people have undergone oppression. This is seen from the African descendants taken as slaves in Egypt to the discrimination of Muslim Tigers in China. 

In fact, for the longest time, women in different regions were under constraints as they were not allowed to vote or be eligible to work in certain occupations. 

Large women groups and uprisings like the suffragettes were known to fight the infringement of their freedom and rights. 


Main Differences Between Rights and Freedom

  1. A right has legally binding. It is a privilege that a country or an institution gives to an individual for being a part of it. Freedom is a state of being. 
  2. A right is objective. However, Freedom is subjective. It differs from person to person. 
  3. A right is an important component of the Constitution. A person receives it at different times. Freedom is given to a person at the time of their birth. 
  4. A right cannot be taken away from a person unlawfully. However, Freedom can be taken away unlawfully as well as lawfully. 
Difference Between Rights and Freedom
  1. https://philpapers.org/rec/DARCAI
  2. https://ictlogy.net/bibliography/reports/projects.php?idp=2187&lang=ca
  3. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/653687

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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22 thoughts on “Rights vs Freedom: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article provided a clear distinction between rights and freedom, giving a thorough analysis of both. It opened new perspectives for me.

  2. A comprehensive analysis of rights and freedom. It offered an intelligent insight into the differences and overlaps between these two crucial concepts.

  3. An insightful comparison. The details within each concept are educational. It seems that rights grant freedom, but freedom is broader and more subjective.

  4. I believe the article needed more critical analysis and examination of real-life scenarios showcasing the interplay between rights and freedom.

  5. The article’s elaborate comparison brought a fresh perspective to the rights and freedom dialogue, significantly adding to the reader’s understanding of these concepts.

  6. The article lacked in-depth details on societal implications of rights and freedoms. This is vital for a comprehensive understanding.

  7. The article effectively demystified the intricate relationship between rights and freedom, ultimately providing a well-rounded understanding of both.

  8. I find the article’s approach to the topic quite dry and dull. It could have used more engaging examples or perspectives to make it more impactful.


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