Difference Between Rights and Freedom

Main Difference – Rights vs Freedom

Rights and freedom are two concepts that overlap to a certain extent. Rights are an individual’s moral or legal entitlement to have or do something. Freedom is the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. It is our rights that ensure and protects our freedom. In this sense, rights and freedom are always interrelated and inseparable. For example, the right to vote ensures that everybody is entitled to vote in the election, this also automatically allows us the freedom to vote. The main difference between rights and freedom is that right is a moral or legal entitlement whereas freedom is a state or quality of being free.Difference Between Rights and Freedom - infographic

What are Rights

A right is a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something. Rights define what is allowed to people and what is owed to people. Rights help the people decide what actions are permissible and which institutions are just. Rights are the foundation of the governments and laws.

All human beings have rights, irrespective of their religion, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, language, color or any other status. Human rights are universal and inalienable. They are also indivisible, interrelated and interdependent; the deprivation of one right can adversely affect the other rights. Human rights are often guaranteed and protected by law.

Rights can be classified into different categories; natural rights and legal rights, individual rights and group rights, positive rights, and negative rights, claim right and liberty right are some of these categories.

Natural rights are rights people have under natural laws.

Legal rights are rights recognized and delimited by law.

Positive rights are permissions to do things, or entitlements to be done unto.

Negative rights are permissions not to do things, or entitlements to be left alone.

Claim rights are rights which entail duties, responsibilities, or obligations on other parties regarding the right-holder. 

Liberty rights are rights which entail obligations freedom or permission for the right-holder.

Difference Between Rights and Freedom

What is Freedom

Freedom is the quality or state of being free, i.e., it is the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. Most rights ensure that their holders are entitled to freedom. In other words, it is the rights that help us to achieve the state of freedom. For example, let’s consider one of the most fundamental human rights – right to education. This right ensures that all children are free to receive an education; depriving a child of this right is a crime. Thus, this right ensures that the child is free from constraint and coercion. The liberty rights we discussed earlier also come into play here. A person’s liberty right to something consists in his freedom to do or have something. For example, a person’s right to free speech allows him the freedom to speak freely. This means that no one has the right to force or coerce us to stop expressing ourselves.Main Difference - Rights vs Freedom

Difference Between Rights and Freedom


Rights are legal and moral entitlements.

Freedom is the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.


Rights are protected by the law.

Freedom is protected by rights.


Rights entitle you to freedom.

Freedom is granted by rights.

Image Courtesy:

“Chain expressing freedom” By Stepph – Own work via  

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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