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“Developing Ethics" and the "Right to Strike," 32 Yale Law Journal 157 (1922)


Definition of terms is difficult, whereas discussion without definition is easy. The difficult step is occasionally useful, however, in shortening discussion and in reaching an understanding and an agreement. What then is the "right" that is at times so bitterly asserted. In times now past and gone the Stuarts and the Hohenzollerns asserted the existence of what they called "divine" rights. These assertions caused much conflict and suffering, much destruction of goods and many deaths. The result is that these assertions are now discredited. Divinity, though often invoked with the utmost depth of emotion and confidence, failed to answer the call or to justify the assertions. We may not improperly conclude that the same result will follow the assertion of any sort of right as a divine right, whether made by king or peasant, by wealth or
poverty. Rights are only human relations, after all; they exist only by virtue of the organization of men.

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