A negative liberty, or negative right, is a restriction that is placed on the government. This is common in the Bill of Rights and can be identified through language such as
“Congress shall make no law”, “the right of the people….shall not be infringed”, “nor shall”, etc…. The negative-right ammendments can sometimes be difficult to discern because the wording usually identifies or established a specific (catagorical) right retained by the people, as well, though the intention of the right itself is to ‘protect’ the people from government action.
Positive Rights are guarantees of certain powers, priveleges, or entitlements to the people. For example, guaranteed franchise for women or 18-year olds are examples of positive rights in the federal Constitution.
Thank you Joe, wonderful answer. I hope more people read your reply.
A liberty is negative if you are a Socialist (borderline communist) like Obama.
Thank you Isabel. The Constitution is a document written to limit government intrusion. Obama doesn’t like those limitations.