Group rights are rights that all members of a group have in certain countries, solely by virtue of being in that group. Hence, group rights are not universalized as individual rights are, since not all individuals have the same rights, except in countries where all individuals are guaranteed the same rights.
In such countries, members of the groups that have more rights are termed first class citizens, while all others who do not enjoy the same rights are called second class citizens.
See also: oligarchy, feudalism.
Some countries, such as the United States, only abolished "group rights" after much bloodshed. This finally occurred in the US in 1868, with the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution, the "Supreme Law of the Land", which explicitly guarantees that all citizens enjoy the same legal rights. Other countries have done away with the legal concept of "group rights" much more peaceably.
Some have alleged that affirmative action in the United States is a violation of the constitution, or even in the same category as apartheid, because such laws seem to grant more "rights" to certain individuals than to others, by virtue of their belonging to a particular gender, race or ethnicity.
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