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A contractual right
is a claim, on other persons, that is acknowledged and perhaps reciprocated among the principals associated with that claim. Specialized contractual rights exist as part of a "contract
A contract is an agreement entered into by two parties or more with the intention of creating a legal obligation, which may have elements in writing. Contracts can be made orally. The remedy for breach of contract can be "damages" or compensation of money. In equity, the remedy can be specific...
" or agreement between persons to whom these rights belong.
One concept of rights is a principle of interaction between people which amounts to the simplest version of the Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"). In other words, it is a mutually beneficial agreement between two or more people; each of them agrees to behave in a certain way towards the others so that they will behave in the same way towards him or her.
Other concepts of right
Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory...
s do not necessarily involve this reciprocal supportiveness. Since ancient times there has existed a belief that parents are owed, as a right, the respect of their children. Similarly, the marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...
ceremony is believed by many to confer rights upon the two parties in exchange for thus bonding their lives to each other.
The move to making contractual rights mutual and equal is relatively modern. In ancient times contractual rights were often more one-sided, the rights of a father to be respected by his son didn't necessarily indicate a duty upon the father to return that respect. Even today, when we are so familiar with the concept of equal rights and mutual respect in society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...
, the rights of children remain in dispute.