Rights vs Public Order

Topics: Rights, Civil and political rights, United States Constitution Pages: 5 (1847 words) Published: October 13, 2006
This paper will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of individual rights vs. public order. It will define what the two terms are and discuss many of the elements that allow us to live in a society that has both. The research was done through the Internet and articles found through the University of Phoenix Library. The conclusions of the paper show that a free society cannot be solely based on individual rights or public order. Elements of each are balanced in a modern and complex society.

Individual Rights vs. Public Order
Modern society has to be able to balance the rights of the individual with what is good for the group. First let us define what individual rights are as it relates to this country. The founding fathers decided that some individual rights need to be guaranteed to its citizens. They had experienced rule under a King and that his absolute authority over his citizens was unacceptable. They weighed the needs of the individual against what are the best laws to govern the populace as a whole. The need for laws to govern all of the populace was never in question, since no society could exist without some form of law. How much freedom to guarantee each person was what the states and the authors of the Constitution debated. The written form of these guarantees was later known as the Bill of Rights and these rights are what guide the writing of our modern laws. Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to James Madison "The bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference." (2003). Jefferson and the rest of the authors of are earliest laws were debating the need to establish individual rights against the idea of a central government. The earliest settlers of this country were tired of unfair taxation on their goods and wanted to live in a society that had laws, but also certain guarantees for individuals. Jefferson and the founding fathers recognized that absolute rule by one central government would not work and their needed to be limits on what was subject to government rule.

In this paper, there will be many points discussed on what the advantages and disadvantages of a society with individual rights vs. public order. It has been argued in almost every society how to balance the two elements and truly establish what is good for a society of people. How integral to American society have these rights become and what will they mean to future generations? The founding father knew that these laws would need to change with future generations, but is our society so reluctant to see past what is believed to be absolutes that it will forsake public order? This society has become so large and complex requiring more laws that it has moved away from being able to guarantee an increase in the rights of individuals and has focused more on establishing more public order.

Individual rights, according to Nicholas Provenzo, are the right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. (Provenzo, 2004) These rights help protects us, society as a whole, from government actions that would affect these liberties.

There are several advantages to be found throughout the U. S. Constitution. Those rights are inalienable and are given to all citizens of the United States. According to the U. S. Department of State, these rights are not destroyed when society is created and neither society nor the government can take them away. (U. S. Department of State, n.d.) Some inalienable rights include freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and the right to a fair trial. Since individual rights stand independently from the government, these rights cannot be legislated away. (U. S. Department of State, n.d.)

The First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution "does not give freedom of religion or of the press to the people; it prohibits Congress from passing any law...

References: Provenzo, N. (2004, May 27). Conservatism vs. individual rights. Retrieved October 5, 2006
from http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=3710
U.S. Department of State. (2003, December). The Bill of Rights as Beacon. Retrieved
October 3, 2006, from http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/rightsof/
U. S. Department of State. (n.d.). Rights. Retrieved October 5th, 2006, from
McWilliams, P. (1993). Ain 't Nobody 's Business if You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in
a Free Society.Retrieved October 3, 2006 , from http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/
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