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Freedom From, In and Through the State – T.H. Marshall’s Trinity of Rights Revisited

Zygmunt Bauman


Each one of T.H. Marshall’s trinity of human rights rested on the state

as, simultaneously, its birth place, executive manager and guardian.

And no wonder. At the time Marshall tied personal, political and

social freedoms into a historically determined succession of

won/bestowed rights, the boundaries of the sovereign state marked the

limits of what humans could contemplate, and what they thought they

should jointly do, in order to make their world more user-friendly. The

state enclosed territory was the site of private initiatives and public

actions, as well as the arena on which private interests and public

issues met, clashed and sought reconciliation. In all those respects,

the realm of state sovereignty was presumed to be self-contained, selfassertive

and self-sufficient.

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