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Freedom vs. Liberty: How Subtle Differences Between These Two Big Ideas Changed Our World

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“I see the liberty of the individual not only as a great moral good in itself (or, with Lord Acton, as the highest political good), but also as the necessary condition for the flowering of all the other goods that mankind cherishes: moral virtue, civilization, the arts and sciences, economic prosperity. Out of liberty, then, stem the glories of civilized life.” Murray Rothbard

The terms “freedom” and “liberty” have become clichés in modern political parlance. Because these words are invoked so much by politicians and their ilk, their meanings are almost synonymous and used interchangeably. That’s confusing – and can be dangerous – because their definitions are actually quite different.

“Freedom” is predominantly an internal construct. Viktor Frankl, the legendary Holocaust survivor who wrote Man’s Search For Meaning, said it well: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way (in how he approaches his circumstances).”

In other words, to be free is to take ownership of what goes on between your ears, to be autonomous in thoughts first and actions second. Your freedom to act a certain way can be taken away from you – but your attitude about your circumstances cannot – making one’s freedom predominantly an internal construct.

On the other hand, “liberty” is predominantly an external construct. It’s the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views. The ancient Stoics knew this (more on that in a minute). So did the Founding Fathers, who wisely noted the distinction between negative and positive liberties, and codified that difference in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The distinction between negative and positive liberties is particularly important, because an understanding of each helps us understand these seminal American documents (plus it explains why so many other countries have copied them). The Bill of Rights is a charter of negative liberties – it says what the state cannot do to you. However, it does not say what the state must do on your behalf. This would be a positive liberty, an obligation imposed upon you by the state.

Thus in keeping with what the late Murray Rothbard said above, the liberty of the individual is the necessary condition for the flowering of all the other “goods” that mankind cherishes. Living in liberty allows each of us to fully enjoy our freedoms. And how these two terms developed and complement one another is important for anyone desiring to better understand what it means to be truly free.

Etymology of Freedom and Liberty

To better understand what freedom and liberty mean, it’s helpful to look at the respective etymologies of these words, digging into their histories and how they developed.

Freedom comes from Old English, meaning “power of self-determination, state of free will; emancipation from slavery, deliverance.” There were similar variants in Old Frisian such as “fridom,” the Dutch “vrijdom,” and Middle Low German “vridom.”

Liberty comes from the Latin “libertatem” (nominative libertas), which means “civil or political freedom, condition of a free man; absence of restraint, permission.” It’s important to note that the Old French variant liberte, “free will,” has also shaped liberty’s meaning. In fact, William R. Greg’s essay France in January 1852 notes that the French notion of liberty is political equality, whereas the English notion is rooted in personal independence.

In an interview with Lew Rockwell, Professor Butler Shaffer makes some interesting distinctions between freedom and liberty. Shaffer argues that freedom is the “condition that exists within your mind, within my mind. It’s that inner sense of integrity. It’s an inner sense of living without conflict, without contradiction, without various divisions and so forth.”

This point of view is in line with the philosophy of the Stoics. They believed that a person’s body can be physically imprisoned, but not his mind (much like Viktor Frankl famously said in his Man’s Search for Meaning). Shaffer adds to the distinction:

“Liberty is a condition that arises from free people living together in society. Liberty is a social condition. Freedom is the inner philosophical and psychological condition.”

In short, freedom is inherent to humans. It exists within them by virtue of their humanity. Liberty is a political construct that allows people to enjoy freedoms such as property rights, free speech, freedom of association, etc.

Sadly, liberty has not been the natural state of mankind. History has shown that liberty – particularly of the individual – has been a distinguishing feature of Western societies, especially in the early years of the United States.

Negative Rights vs. Positive Rights

Philosophy professor Aeon Skoble provides a good summary:

“Fundamentally, positive rights require others to provide you with either a good or service. A negative right, on the other hand, only requires others to abstain from interfering with your actions. If we are free and equal by nature, and if we believe in negative rights, any positive rights would have to be grounded in consensual arrangements.”

For example, private property, free speech, and freedom of association are negative rights. In other words, these are rights that prevent others – above all, the state – from transgressing on you personally or on your property.

Along with these rights come responsiblities. In other words, you must bear the consequences of your actions as you exercise them. This is why you can’t “falsely shout fire in a theatre and cause a panic” without bearing the consequences of the panic you caused, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes noted in Schenk v. United States in 1919.

Like all negative rights, free speech comes with responsibility; if you use that speech to spread information which is false and causes harm, then you’re not protected carte blanche. Others can petition the court for the panic you’ve caused as a result of your exercise of free speech.

On the other hand, positive rights are granted by the government and involve the trampling of an individual or another class of individuals’ rights. These kinds of rights – like state-funded healthcare or public education – are justified on abstract grounds, such as the “public good” or the “general will.” By their very nature, they require the state to take from one group in order to give to another, usually in the form of taxes.

Appeals to the general will originate from the famous 18th century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who emphasized that a strong government makes individuals free and that individuals submit to the state for the sake of the greater good. If that sounds backwards to you, you’re not alone.

Author James Bovard highlights some of the follies behind Rousseau’s thinking:

“Rousseau’s concept of the general will led him to a concept of freedom that was a parody of the beliefs accepted by British and American thinkers of his era. Rousseau wrote that the social contract required that ‘whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free.’ ”

In other words, if you don’t want to go along with the “will of the people” (or as Rousseau defined it, “the general will”), then the state can compell you to do so – even if that means trampling your individual rights and responsibilities.

Bovard also noted how Rousseau’s concept of freedom had nothing to do with the independence of the individual:

“C. E. Vaughan, in a 1915 study of Rousseau’s work, correctly observed that, for Rousseau, ‘freedom is no longer conceived as the independence of the individual. It is rather to be sought in his total surrender to the service of the State.’ “

Rousseau (1712-78) was the first of the modern intellectuals, and one of the most influential Englightenment thinkers. He died a decade before the French Revolution of 1789, but many contemporaries held him responsible for it, and so for the demolition of the Ancien Regime in Europe.

One can see how Rousseau’s ideas translated into actions when comparing the French Revolution to the American one. After all, ideas matter – especially in revolutionary politics.

French vs. American: A Tale of Two Revolutions

The French and American Revolutions happened within a dozen years of one another, yet they centered around two very different concepts of individual liberty. For the French, the goal was to ensure political equality. For the Americans, it was personal independence. This distinction helps shed light on what made the outcomes of the two Revolutions so different.

The French Revolution devolved into chaos when revolutionary zealots like Maximilien Robespierre became the de facto head of the Committee of Public Safety. Under the Committee’s direction, Robespierre conducted the infamous “Reign of Terror” against all opponents of the French Revolution. Robespierre was inspired in part by Rousseau, stating: “Rousseau is the one man who, through the loftiness of his soul and the grandeur of his character, showed himself worthy of the role of teacher of mankind.”

If Thomas Jefferson was to Rousseau the facilitator of their respective Revolutions, then Robespierre was to General Washington – the implementor.

During his despotic period of leadership, Robespierre went as far as to create a Cult of the Supreme Being, a state religion based on secularism. This was part of Robespierre’s revolutionary program to completely destroy France’s Roman Catholic tradition in pursuit of an ambiguous “political equality” amongst the masses. Instead of trying to fight for freedom-based principles like the Founding Fathers did, Robespierre was more concerned with destroying all features of French civic society in the name of progress.

In a cruel twist of irony, Robespierre and his Committee of Public Safety behaved more like the previous French monarchy once they seized control. For that reason, the French Revolution turned into a chaotic murder spree that saw tens of thousands of people executed at the guillotine for simply opposing Robespierre’s vision. In the end, Robespierre got a taste of his own medicine, when the French National Convention arrested him and put him to death on July 28, 1794.

It took a young upstart general in Napoleon Bonaparte to put an end to the 15-year chaos of the French Revolution. France reverted back to monarchical rule when Napoleon became emperor in 1804, which restored some semblance of political stability to the crisis-beleaguered nation.

France reached great heights under Napoleon’s rule, in which the country dominated a substantial portion of Europe. However, Napoleon would be defeated and forced into exile in 1815. France went back to its monarchical system, albeit with certain republican features, when Louis XVIII assumed the throne from 1815 to 1824. France did not morph into a genuine republic until 1848, when the Second Republic was established. However, France swung from imperial to republican governments until 1871, when the Third Republic of France came into power.

The road to political stability in France was rather rocky, and was a demonstration that flawed ideas about the tenuous relationship of the state’s role in an individual’s life can be deadly. Unfortunately, most countries across the globe have taken after France’s example of governance as opposed to the American model.

Latin America is arguably the best example of this.

Condemned to Mediocrity: Latin America’s Misunderstanding of Liberty

Etched above the entrace to the Colombian Palace of Justice is a quote by General Francisco de Paula Santander:

“Colombianos las armas os han dado la independencia, las leyes os darán la libertad” (Colombians arms have given us independence, laws will give us liberty)

Santander’s quote was indicative of the stark difference in political philosophies of the Latin American Wars of Independence from Spain and the American War of Independence from Great Britain. He and his counterpart, Simón Bolívar, were not inspired by classically liberal ideas of an individual’s inalienable rights – hence Santander’s belief that liberty comes from the state, not from natural law as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the American Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Jefferson’s philosophy held that an individual’s unalienable rights are not given to one in a document, but by their Creator (and subsequently codified in the Bill of Rights “in order to prevent the misconstruction or abuse of its powers” as it states in the preamble.) In other words, an unalienable right is God-given. It isn’t granted by a president, a king, or any government – otherwise it can be taken away.

Santander and his counterpart Bolivar didn’t share Jefferson’s view. Juan Baustista Alberdi, one of Latin America’s premier classical liberal thinkers in the 19th century, understood the major distinctions behind the Latin American and American Wars of Independence in his essay Omnipotence of the State:

“Washington and his contemporaries were more interested in fighting for individual rights and liberties than just fighting for independence of their country. Once they attained the former, they were able to achieve the latter, as opposed to South American countries, who won their political independence but did not obtain individual freedoms.”

The Founding Fathers fought, above all, for the restoration of the liberties they enjoyed as Englishmen, which were usurped by the tyranical King George III. On the other hand, Latin American leaders were fighting for independence from Spain – and not much else. There wasn’t an underlying belief in an individual’s unalienable rights. Instead, in their view, these rights were granted by the state and their laws, and consequently could also be taken away.

Bolivar in particular feared introducing too much liberty to the uneducated masses once Spainish rule ended. He foresaw anarchy, and thus believed in the necessity of a strong central authority once Gran Colombia gained independence. (Gran Colombia was made up of Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela.) These were the views of a man raised in the Caracas elite.

Bolivar (1783-1830) was born into aristocracy in Caracas. He was a product of the Enlightenment, and was strongly influenced by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Just like Robespierre in France, Boliver was entranced by Rousseau’s ideas. In particular he subscribed to Rousseau’s “general will” concept, which called on the intellectual and educated elite to identify what’s in the best interest of the people. Picture the state serving as a “benevolent guiding hand” if you will; except that it won’t be benevolent if you don’t go along with where that hand is guiding you.

Bolívar believed that past subjugation under Spanish colonial rule left many of the Gran Colombia people ignorant and unable to acquire knowledge, power or civic virtue. Therefore, supposedly in the name of the “greater good,” Bolívar believed that these people should be freed – but not given too much individual liberty. He says as much in his famous Cartagena Manifesto, where it’s clear he was not a fan of federalism:

“But what most weakened the government of Venezuela was the federalist structure it adopted, embodying the exaggerated notion of the rights of man. By stipulating that each man should rule himself, this idea undermines social pacts and constitutes nations in a state of anarchy. Such was the true state of the confederation. Each province governed itself independently, and following this example, each city claimed equal privilege, citing the practice of the provinces and the theory that all men and all peoples have the right to institute whatever form of government they choose. The federal system, although it is the most perfect and the most suitable for guaranteeing human happiness in society, is, notwithstanding, the form most inimical to the interests of our emerging states.”

In Bolívar’s view, the 1812 collapse of the First Republic of Venezuela was due to its decentralized federal system, which demonstrated that the First Republic in fact needed to have stronger state control. After independence was achieved throughout most of Latin America in 1821, Bolívar established Gran Colombia – an even larger territory with stronger centralized power.

Bolívar had lofty aspirations for Gran Colombia. He saw it as a potential powerhouse that would rival the U.S. and European powers by implementing Rousseua’s “general will” concept. However, Bolivar’s dreams did not go as planned. By 1828, Gran Colombia was on the ropes due to internal turmoil and political infighting.

There is a parallel here with the U.S. Articles of Confederation. It lasted eight years before the Continental Congress in Philadelphia replaced it with the U.S. Constituion, primarily because the federal government was too weak to pay their Revolutionary War debts. Gran Colombia lasted seven years before it began to implode. However, unlike the Continental Congress, which convened to replace the U.S. Articles whilst still protecting an individual’s inalienable rights, Bolivar dissolved the Constitutional Convention of Ocaña because he was unable to reform the Constitution of Gran Colombia. He then did what all good dictators do – he declared himself in charge of the Republic of Colombia, making it abundantly clear that Colombia was in fact no longer a republic.

The Gran Colombia experiment would come to a grinding halt in 1830, when Ecuador, New Granada (present-day Colombia), and Venezuela decided to break away and carve out their own national paths.

Gran Colombia’s dissolution made Bolívar pause and reflect. At the end of his life, he’d been driven out of politics, into exile, and knew he would die soon. In his letter to General Juan José Flores, Ploughing the Sea, Bolívar was blunt about his concerns for Latin America’s future:

“You know that I have ruled for twenty years, and I have derived from these only a few sure conclusions: (1) (Latin) America is ungovernable, for us; (2) Those who serve revolution plough the sea; (3) The only thing one can do in (Latin) America is emigrate; (4) This country will fall inevitably into the hands of the unrestrained multitudes and then into the hands of tyrants so insignificant they will be almost imperceptible, of all colors and races; (5) Once we’ve been eaten alive by every crime and extinguished by ferocity, the Europeans won’t even bother to conquer us; (6) If it were possible for any part of the world to revert to primitive chaos, it would be (Latin) America in her last hour.”

Since then, Latin America would experience decades of political and economic instability. Despotism, the non-existence of the rule of law, and economic interventionism have been hallmarks of Latin American politics for the past century and a half. One could argue this is due to the fact that there is no philosophical basis in an individual’s unalienable right. It is only a matter of power.

One needn’t look further than present-day Venezuela to see what happens when collectivism becomes part and parcel of the political culture. Ideas like individual liberty and personal responsiblity form the philosophical bedrock of a functioning republic. Their adoption can be the difference between generational poverty or prosperity for nations.

A Warning to the United States

During this period, political pundits and economic theorists became obsessed with scientism, which is “the over-reliance on or over-application of the scientific method” as a means of trying to move society forward towards an ambiguous utopia. Instead of focusing on the defense of foundational principles like liberty and the rights and responsibilities of the individual, 20th-century intellectuals focused more on “scientific” ways to plan society from the top down. The state would obviously be the main driver, and its central planning would make people “free.”

However, such a view encountered pushback during the 20th century. Economist Ludwig von Mises courageously stood up to this top-down vision and exposed the limits of science in his work Planned Chaos:

“Science is competent to establish what is. It can never dictate what ought to be.”

Mises’ warning unfortunately fell on deaf ears. Progressivism’s apex came about during the administration of Woodrow Wilson.

Discussions about freedom and liberty – as well as the important distinction between negative and positive liberties, which form the bedrock of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights – have become quite quaint, as people use these words in Orwellian fashion to justify a litany of government intrusions in our lives. When we let their meanings become obscurred, we cede to those whose underlying goal is more state power the ability to manipulate the public for their own tyrannical ends. We not only need to comprehend the differences between freedom and liberty, but also recover their original meaning so that there is foundational clarity in political discussions.

Written by

Brian Miller

Understanding Soap Vs Rest: Basics And Differences

SOAP vs REST. What’s the Difference?

REST versus SOAP. It’s been an issue for a while now. And really, they’re just two answers to the same question: how to access web services.

But deciding one over the other can be surprisingly difficult.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a standards-based web services access protocol that has been around for a long time. Originally developed by Microsoft, SOAP isn’t as simple as the acronym would suggest.

REST (Representational State Transfer) is another standard, made in response to SOAP’s shortcomings. It seeks to fix the problems with SOAP and provide a simpler method of accessing web services. 

What about GraphQL? Of course, GraphQL has recently made a huge splash, which we’ve spoken of at length in other articles. But it’s still not as standardized as REST and SOAP, so in this article we’re just going to focus on those two.

Both SOAP and REST have issues to consider when deciding which protocol to use.

The Similarities

While SOAP and REST share similarities over the HTTP protocol, SOAP is a more rigid set of messaging patterns than REST. The rules in SOAP are important because we can’t achieve any level of standardization without them. REST as an architecture style does not require processing and is naturally more flexible. Both SOAP and REST rely on well-established rules that everyone has agreed to abide by in the interest of exchanging information.  

A Quick Overview of SOAP

SOAP relies exclusively on XML to provide messaging services. Microsoft originally developed SOAP to take the place of older technologies that don’t work well on the internet such as the Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) and Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA). These technologies fail because they rely on binary messaging. The XML messaging that SOAP employs works better over the internet.

After an initial release, Microsoft submitted SOAP to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) where it was standardized. SOAP is designed to support expansion, so it has all sorts of other acronyms and abbreviations associated with it, such as WS-Addressing, WS-Policy, WS-Security, WS-Federation, WS-ReliableMessaging, WS-Coordination, WS-AtomicTransaction, and WS-RemotePortlets. In fact, you can find a whole laundry list of these standards on Web Services Standards.

The point is that SOAP is highly extensible, but you only use the pieces you need for a particular task. For example, when using a public web service that’s freely available to everyone, you really don’t have much need for WS-Security.  

Difficulty Depends on Programming Language The XML used to make requests and receive responses in SOAP can become extremely complex. In some programming languages, you need to build those requests manually, which becomes problematic because SOAP is intolerant of errors. However, other languages can use shortcuts that SOAP provides. They can help you reduce the effort required to create the request and to parse the response. In fact, when working with .NET languages, you never even see the XML.

Part of the magic is the Web Services Description Language (WSDL). This is another file that’s associated with SOAP. It provides a definition of how the web service works, so that when you create a reference to it, the IDE can completely automate the process. So, the difficulty of using SOAP depends to a large degree on the language you use.  

Built-In Error Handling One of the most important SOAP features is built-in error handling. If there’s a problem with your request, the response contains error information that you can use to fix the problem. Given that you might not own the Web service, this particular feature is extremely important; otherwise you would be left guessing as to why things didn’t work. The error reporting even provides standardized codes so that it’s possible to automate some error handling tasks in your code.

An interesting SOAP feature is that you don’t necessarily have to use it with the HTTP transport. There’s an actual specification for using SOAP over Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and there isn’t any reason you can’t use it over other transports. In fact, developers in some languages, such as Python and PHP, are doing just that.

A Quick Overview of REST

REST provides a lighter-weight alternative. Many developers found SOAP cumbersome and hard to use. For example, working with SOAP in JavaScript means writing a ton of code to perform simple tasks because you must create the required XML structure every time.

Instead of using XML to make a request, REST (usually) relies on a simple URL. In some situations you must provide additional information, but most web services using REST rely exclusively on using the URL approach. REST can use four different HTTP 1.1 verbs (GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE) to perform tasks.

Unlike SOAP, REST doesn’t have to use XML to provide the response. You can find REST-based web services that output the data in Command Separated Value (CSV), JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and Really Simple Syndication (RSS). The point is you can obtain the output you need, in a form that’s easy to parse within the language you’re using for your application.  

Deciding Between SOAP and REST

Unless you plan to create your own web service, the decision of which protocol to use may already be made for you. Extremely few web services, such as Amazon, support both. The focus of your decision often centers on which web service best meets your needs, rather than which protocol to use.

Soap Advantages •    Language, platform, and transport independent (REST requires use of HTTP) •    Works well in distributed enterprise environments (REST assumes direct point-to-point communication) •    Standardized •    Provides significant pre-build extensibility in the form of the WS* standards •    Built-in error handling •    Automation when used with certain language products

REST Advantages •    No expensive tools require to interact with the web service •    Smaller learning curve •    Efficient (SOAP uses XML for all messages, REST can use smaller message formats) •    Fast (no extensive processing required) •    Closer to other web technologies in design philosophy  

Locating Free Web Services

The best way to discover whether SOAP or REST works best for you is to try a number of free web services. Rolling your own web service can be a painful process, so it’s much better to make use of someone else’s hard work. In addition, as you work with these free web services you may discover that they fulfill a need in your organization, and you can save your organization both time and money by using them. Here are some to check out:

One common concern about using a free web service is the perception that it could somehow damage your system or network. But since they typically send you text; not scripts, code, or binary data, the risks are small.

Of course, there’s also the concern that the web services will disappear overnight. In most cases, they’re exceptionally stable and it’s unlikely that any of them will disappear anytime soon. When in doubt, stick with web services from organizations with a large Internet presence. And do some quick research on the service before you begin using it.  

A Simple REST Example

Sometimes, simple is best. In this case, REST is about as simple as it gets because all you need is an URL. Open your browser – it doesn’t matter which one – and type http://rpc.geocoder.us/service/csv?address=1600+Pennsylvania+Ave,+Washington+DC in the address field. Press Enter.

You’ll see the output in your browser in CSV format:

You see the latitude, followed by the longitude, followed by the address you provided. This simple test works for most addresses in most major cities (it doesn’t work too well for rural addresses – yet). The idea is that you obtain the latitude and longitude needed for use with other web services. By combining web services together with a little glue code, you can create really interesting applications that do amazing things in a short time with little effort. Everyone else is doing the heavy lifting.  You can also test your REST API with simple to use tools like SoapUI.

A Simple SOAP Example

SOAP, by its very nature, requires a little more setup, but it’s still impressively simple to use.

Begin this example by creating Windows Forms application using Visual Studio. The sample code uses C#, but the same technique works fine with other .NET languages (you’ll need to modify the code to fit). Add labels, textboxes, and buttons as shown here (the Latitude and Longitude fields are read-only).

At this point, you’re ready to use the Web service. All you need to do is to add some code to the Get Position button as shown here.



   GeocoderService.GeoCode_PortTypeClient Client =

      new GeocoderService.GeoCode_PortTypeClient();


   GeocoderService.GeocoderResult[] Result =



   if (Result != null)



      chúng tôi = Result[0].lat.ToString();

      chúng tôi = Result[0].@long.ToString();





      chúng tôi = "Error";

      chúng tôi = "Error";



The code begins by creating a client. This is a common step for any web service you use with Visual Studio (or other environments that support SOAP natively). 

After you create the client, you use it to call one of the methods supported by the web service. In this case, you call geocode() and pass the address you want to work with. The result of the call is stored in a GeocoderResult variable named Result. A single address could possibly end up providing multiple positions if you aren’t specific enough, so this information is passed back as an array.

The Bottom Line(s)

There are a few bottom lines here.

First Bottom Line

If you really want to avoid problems upfront, chart the pros and cons in your situation and play it by the numbers.

Second Bottom Line Remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It’s amazing to see companies spend big bucks to create web services that already exist (and do a better job). Look for free alternatives whenever possible. In many cases, the choice of web service also determines your choice of protocol.

Third Bottom Line Whether you pick between SOAP or REST for your web service, making sure you thoroughly test your APIs. Ready! API has a full suite of functional, performance, security, and virtualization tools for your API testing needs. You can also learn how to test RESTful APIs, in our API Testing Resource Center.

Photo source: Glyphobet.net

Put Vs Patch (What’S The Difference?)


When learning web development and HTTP specification, it is not unlikely to find yourself getting confused about the type of verb to use, and when to use it. With most applications on the internet being CRUD (create, read/retrieve, updates, delete), developers must learn how to match HTTP verbs to these actions. Typically, the verbs and actions are matched as follows:

POST – Create

GET – Read/Retrieve

PUT/PATCH – Update

DELETE – Delete

From this mapping, it is not surprising that most people think that PUT and PATCH are allies that do the same thing. However, the reality is far more complex, especially when it comes to overlapping functionality and other complications. Actually, PUT and PATCH might be doing the same thing of updating a resource at a location, but they do it differently. Therefore, to understand more about these verbs, let’s dive deep into HTTP specification and identify the subtle differences between the two.

Browse the Best Free APIs List

What is PUT?

PUT is a method of modifying resource where the client sends data that updates the entire resource. It is used to set an entity’s information completely. PUT is similar to POST in that it can create resources, but it does so when there is a defined URI. PUT overwrites the entire entity if it already exists, and creates a new resource if it doesn’t exist.

For example, when you want to change the first name of a person in a database, you need to send the entire resource when making a PUT request.

{“first": "John", "last": "Stone”}

To make a PUT request, you need to send the two parameters; the first and the last name.

What is PATCH?

Unlike PUT, PATCH applies a partial update to the resource.

This means that you are only required to send the data that you want to update, and it won’t affect or change anything else. So if you want to update the first name on a database, you will only be required to send the first parameter; the first name.

Differentiating PUT and PATCH Using an Analogy of Land

Imagine we have empty a piece of land where we have the option to erect multiple houses. The land is divided into plots and houses will be built on each plot as designated by numbers. All we need it to do is to determine which house will be built where. When we translate the above information to REST, we will have the following: https://domain.com/house


Let say plot 1 has a house that has been equipped with all the amenities. Making a PUT request can lead to a number of outcomes. However, to stick to the topic, let’s consider the following request: https://domain.com/house/1 using this payload:

{ "front_patio": true, "back_patio": true, "windows": 12, "doors": 4, "Balcony": false }

Now that we have a house on plot 1, what will happen is that every property on the house will be replaced by the data in the payload. So, if our payload only had the following information:

{ "doors": 5 }

We will have a house that has doors property and nothing else since a PUT request overwrites everything.

What if we issue a PUT request on a resource that doesn’t exist. In this case let’s say on plot 3: https://domain.com/house/3. In this case, a new resource will be created. But it is crucial to note that, it is imperative to define the entire resource when making PUT requests or else it could yield undesired results.


PATCH is used when you want to apply a partial update to the resource. Let’s assume the house on plot 1 has the following features:

{ "front_patio": true, "back_patio": true, "windows": 12, "doors": 4, "Balcony": false }

And we want to make the following update:

{ "doors": 5 }

The result will be as follows:

{ "front_patio": true, "back_patio": true, "windows": 12, "doors": 5, "Balcony": false }

Additionally, we can also add a new feature that didn’t exist in the resource. For example, a garage and the result will be:

{ "front_patio": true, "back_patio": true, "windows": 12, "doors": 5, "Balcony": false, “garage”: true }

However, you should note that calling HTTP PATCH on a resource that doesn’t exist is bound to fail and no resource will be created.

A Summary of Differences/Similarities between PUT and PATCH

From the discussion above, we can clearly outline the similarities/ differences between these two methods.

Similarities between PUT and PATCH

The only similarity between the two is that they can both be used to update resources in a given location.

Differences between PUT and PATCH

The main difference between PUT and PATCH requests is witnessed in the way the server processes the enclosed entity to update the resource identified by the Request-URI. When making a PUT request, the enclosed entity is viewed as the modified version of the resource saved on the original server, and the client is requesting to replace it. However, with PATCH, the enclosed entity boasts a set of instructions that describe how a resource stored on the original server should be partially modified to create a new version.

The second difference is when it comes to idempotency. HTTP PUT is said to be idempotent since it always yields the same results every after making several requests. On the other hand, HTTP PATCH is basically said to be non-idempotent. However, it can be made to be idempotent based on where it is implemented.

Final Verdict

Now that you have a clear outlook of the similarities/differences between PUT and PATCH, you will probably make the best choice when designing a RESTful API or a new web application. Understanding these subtle differences will help improve your experience when integrating and creating cooperative apps.

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Standard Of Living Vs. Quality Of Life: What’S The Difference?

Standard of Living vs. Quality of Life: An Overview

Standard of living refers to the level of wealth, comfort, material goods, and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class or geographic area. Quality of life, on the other hand, is a subjective term that can measure happiness.

The two terms are often confused because there may be some perceived overlap in how they are defined. But knowing the different nuances of each can affect how you evaluate a country where you might be looking to invest some money.

Standard of Living

Standard of living is a comparison tool used when describing two different geographic areas. Metrics may include things like wealth levels, comfort, goods, and necessities that are available to people of different socioeconomic classes in those areas. The standard of living is measured by things that are easily quantified, such as income, employment opportunities, cost of goods and services, and poverty. Factors such as life expectancy, the inflation rate, or the number of paid vacation days people receive each year are also included.

Other factors commonly associated with the standard of living include:

Class disparity

Poverty rate

Quality and affordability of housing

Hours of work required to purchase necessities

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Affordable access to quality healthcare

Quality and availability of education

Incidence of disease


National economic growth

Economic and political stability

Political and religious freedom

Environmental quality



The standard of living in the United States may be compared to that of Canada. It may also draw comparisons to smaller geographic areas such as New York City versus Detroit. It can also be used to compare distinct points in time. For example, the standard of living in the U.S. is considered to have greatly improved compared to a century ago. Now, the same amount of work buys a larger quantity of goods and items that were once luxuries such as refrigerators and automobiles. Leisure time and life expectancy have also increased, while annual hours worked have decreased.

One measure of standard of living is the Human Development Index (HDI), which has been used by the United Nations since 1990. It considers life expectancy at birth, adult literacy rates, and per capita GDP to measure a country’s level of development.

Quality of Life

Quality of life is a more subjective and intangible term than standard of living. As such, it can often be hard to quantify. The factors that affect the overall quality of life vary by people’s lifestyles and their personal preferences. Regardless of these factors, this measure plays an important part in the financial decisions in everyone’s lives. Some of the factors that can affect a person’s quality of life can include conditions in the workplace, healthcare, education, and material living conditions.

The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, provides an excellent list of factors that can be considered in evaluating quality of life. It includes many things that citizens of the United States and other developed countries take for granted, which are not available in a significant number of other countries around the world. Although this declaration is more than 70 years old, in many ways it still represents an ideal to be achieved, rather than a baseline state of affairs. Factors that may be used to measure the quality of life include the following:

Freedom from slavery and torture

Equal protection under the law

Freedom from discrimination

Freedom of movement

Freedom of residence within one’s home country

Presumption of innocence unless proved guilty

Right to marry

Right to have a family

Right to be treated equally without regard to gender, race, language, religion, political beliefs, nationality, socioeconomic status, and more

Right to privacy

Freedom of thought

Freedom of religion

Free choice of employment

Right to fair pay

Equal pay for equal work

Right to vote

Right to rest and leisure

Right to education

Right to human dignity

Standard of Living vs. Quality of Life: Flawed Indicators

Standard of living is somewhat of a flawed indicator. While the United States ranks high in many areas as a nation, the standard of living is very low for some segments of the population. For example, some of the country’s poor, urban areas struggle with a lack of quality employment opportunities, short life expectancies, and higher rates of disease and illness.

Similarly, the quality of life can vary between people, making it a flawed indicator as well. There are various segments of the American population that may have a lower quality of life compared to others. They may experience discrimination in society and the workplace or don’t have access to clean drinking water, proper healthcare, or education.

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