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Inventing Human Rights : A History



Pub. Date:
W W Norton & Co Inc
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How were human rights invented, and what is their turbulent history? Human rights is a concept that only came to the forefront during the eighteenth century. When the American Declaration of Independence declared "all men are created equal" and the French proclaimed the Declaration of the Rights of Man during their revolution, they were bringing a new guarantee into the world. But why then? How did such a revelation come to pass? In this extraordinary work of cultural and intellectual history, Professor Lynn Hunt grounds the creation of human rights in the changes that authors brought to literature, the rejection of torture as a means of finding out truth, and the spread of empathy. Hunt traces the amazing rise of rights, their momentous eclipse in the nineteenth century, and their culmination as a principle with the United Nations's proclamation in 1948. She finishes this work for our time with a diagnosis of the state of human rights today.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 11
Introduction: "We hold these truths to be self-evident"p. 15
"Torrents of Emotion": Reading Novels and Imagining Equalityp. 35
"Bone of Their Bone": Abolishing Torturep. 70
"They Have Set a Great Example": Declaring Rightsp. 113
"There Will Be No End of It": The Consequences of Declaringp. 146
The Soft Power of Humanity: Why Human Rights Failed, Only to Succeed in the Long Runp. 176
Three Declarations: 1776, 1789, 1948p. 215
Notesp. 230
Permissionsp. 261
Indexp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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