Constitutional and Political Guarantees[1]

Under every condition some actions of individuals should be free from governmental interference. But with changing conditions the

(194) sphere of individual action that should be free from governmental control varies, and with such a change individual rights or interests must give way at certain points in the interest of the community at large. The safeguarding of individual rights would be simple were such rights definite and unchangeable. Safeguards of individual right must seek to draw some line which will protect such rights and at the same time be sufficiently flexible to permit new governmental regulation as conditions change.

For the protection of individual rights there are two types of safeguards, (1) political, and (2) those judicially enforceable. Of political safeguards standing alone England furnishes the best example; of judicial safeguards (united also with political) the United States furnishes the best example. A study of the two types does not show that the judicial safeguard possesses any distinct measure of superiority. Under each system of safeguarding individual rights, the more important rights of property at least are to a fair degree protected. Yet political safeguards are more flexible and permit a more ready adaptation of governmental action to meet new conditions.


  1. This topic formed the subject of Discussion at a joint session in which members of the Philosophical Associations, of the Political Science Association, andof the Conference on Legal and Social Philosophy took part.

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