Greece, Rome, and the Bill of Rights / Edition 1

Greece, Rome, and the Bill of Rights / Edition 1

by Susan Ford Wiltshire
     
 

ISBN-10: 0806124644

ISBN-13: 2900806124642

Pub. Date: 11/28/1992

Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press

The principle that a purpose of government is to protect the individual rights and minority opinions of its citizens is a recent idea in human history. A doctrine of human rights could never have evolved, however, if the ancient Athenians had not invented the revolutionary idea that human beings are capable of governing themselves and if the ancient Romans had not…  See more details below

Overview

The principle that a purpose of government is to protect the individual rights and minority opinions of its citizens is a recent idea in human history. A doctrine of human rights could never have evolved, however, if the ancient Athenians had not invented the revolutionary idea that human beings are capable of governing themselves and if the ancient Romans had not created their elaborate system of law. Susan Ford Wiltshire traces the evolution of the doctrine of individual rights from antiquity through the eighteenth century. The common thread through that long story is the theory of natural law. Growing out of Greek political thought, especially that of Aristotle, natural law became a major tenet of Stoic philosophy during the Hellenistic age and later became attached to Roman legal doctrine. It underwent several transformations during the Middle Ages on the Continent and in England, especially in the thought of John Locke, before it came to justify a theory of natural rights, claimed by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence as the basis of the "unalienable rights" of Americans. Amendment by amendment, Wiltshire assesses in detail the ancient parallels for the twenty-odd provisions of the Bill of Rights. She does not claim that it is directly influenced by Greek and Roman political practice. Rather, she examines classical efforts toward assuring such guarantees as freedom of speech, religious toleration, and trial by jury. Present in the ancient world, too, were early experiments in limiting search and seizure, the billeting of soldiers, and the right to bear arms. Wiltshire concludes that while the idea of individual rights evolved later than classical antiquity, the civic infrastructure supporting such rights in the United States is preeminently a legacy from ancient Greece and Rome. In the era celebrating the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights, Greece, Rome, and the Bill of Rights reminds us once again that the idea of ensuring human rights has a lon

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900806124642
Publisher:
University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date:
11/28/1992
Series:
Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction3
Pt. 1From Athens to America: The Evolution of the Idea of Rights
1The Origins: Greek Philosophy and Roman Law9
2Law, Individual, and Church in the Middle Ages30
3English Beginnings: Common Law and Magna Carta51
4Enlightenment Humanism and the "New Thought"62
5The Bill of Rights89
Pt. 2Greek and Roman Antecedents to the Bill of Rights
6Amendment I: The Basic Freedoms103
7Amendments II and III: Bearing Arms and Quartering Soldiers132
8Amendment IV: Search and Seizure146
9Amendments V, VI, VII, and VIII: Judicial Process150
10Amendments IX and X: Retained Rights and Reserved Powers168
Conclusion184
Notes187
Sources Cited215
American Political Thought and the Classics: A Bibliography229
Index239

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