Enlightenment And Human Rights Essay

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Since the ancient times the research of a ‘Just’ society has always been linked with the Natural Law, a corpus of eternal, universal, and immutable rules, as the Nature, valid for everyone. The precursor of the Human Rights can be located in the Natural Rights theorized during the Renaissance humanism. Even if some rights had already been recognized, or affirmed in ancient and previous times, they were strongly connected to some divine power or religion. Nonetheless there are some precedent examples of interest. The Magna Charta signed in 1215 by that King John of England, who committed himself to respect, contained among others in its list , the rights of all free citizens to own and inherit property, to be protected from excessive taxes, …show more content…

The interest intensified during the Age of Enlightenment in the following century. Several 17th and 18th century European philosophers, especially John Locke, Thomas Paine, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, developed the concept of natural rights, the notion that people are naturally free and equal. . The Enlightenment philosophers suggested a secular social contract between the rulers and the ruled, who deprive themselves of some rights to gain security and serenity at the cost of some of their liberties. In the same time some ‘Natural rights’ preexisting the authority must be respected by the authority, i.e. the government and the State, in order to keep its legitimacy. John Locke discussed natural rights in his work, identifying them as being "life, liberty, and estate (property)", and argued that such fundamental rights could not be surrendered in the social contract. Although Locke thought natural rights originated by divinity since humans were creations of God, his ideas were fundamental in the development of the modern idea of human rights. For the first time the natural rights were not linked to any citizenship nor relied on any law of the state, nor were they destined to one particular ethnic, cultural or religious

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