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The Progressives' CenturyPolitical Reform, Constitutional Government, and the Modern American State$
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Stephen Skowronek, Stephen M Engel, and Bruce Ackerman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300204841

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300204841.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Rights as Process

Rights as Process

A View from the Progressives’ Century

(p.87) 4 Rights as Process
The Progressives' Century

Karen Orren

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the distance between rights as claims and rights in practice. To survey rights in the Progressive century, it proposes to define rights less as a thing and more as a process, to wit: “A right is a claim, made against a person or action of another, either a citizen or governmental officer, enforceable in a court of law.” Like other processes, a “right” has a beginning and an end. The beginning is the claim itself; the end, its anticipated enforcement. The chapter begins by briefly situating the Progressive era in a broader story of rights as defined above. It then discusses a handful of rights disputes in state and federal courts from the Progressive era forward, and the definition proposed is briefly applied to particular cases. The cases were not selected on any special basis; others would have served as well. They are discussed only to give the approach a trial run. The point is not to put things in boxes but to consider rights in a fresh way, both over this historical span and in general.

Keywords:   American rights, Progressive era, Progressives, Progressivism

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