Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays Speeches and Documents from the Bible to the Present

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This book presents the most comprehensive collection of essays, speeches, and documents, from historical and contemporary sources, available on the subject of human rights.

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This book presents the most comprehensive collection of essays, speeches, and documents, from historical and contemporary sources, available on the subject of human rights.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Ishay (Graduate Sch. of International Studies and director of the human rights program, Univ. of Denver) takes a historical approach to human-rights literature in this book. Her introduction summarizes each writing and its significance, with no critical analysis or comparison of any of the selections. To ground the reader in the religious/philosophical origins of human rights thinking, she chooses writings from Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam as well as classical philosophers. She then selects significant political writers such as Rousseau, Paine, Marx, and Gandhi, as well as lesser-known authors' works on women's, gay, and minority rights to illustrate the development of human rights consciousness during important historical periods. A selection of contemporary international documents such as the Helsinki Agreement and the Beijing Declaration conclude the collection. Although the work is relatively comprehensive, its appropriateness for library collections should be questioned, since both academic and public libraries would have many of the original works.Jill W. Ortner, SUNY at Buffalo Lib.
Classical and modern readings trace the evolution of the rights debate<-->beginning with passages from both the Old and New Testament, the Koran, and early Buddhist writings. Ishay (U. of Denver) includes selections that address contemporary issues such as women's rights, the rights of gays and lesbians, and the question of humanitarian intervention. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415918480
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Micheline Ishay is Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies at University of Denver, where she is Director of the human rights program. She has been a Visiting Professor at The University of Tel Aviv, the University of Maryland, and as Lady Davis Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and speaks regularly on a variety of human rights and foreign policy issues. Ishay is the author or editor of The History of Human Rights (2004), The Nationalism Reader (1999), and Internationalism and Its Betrayal (1995).

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Table of Contents

Introduction ; I. Religious Humanism and Stoicism: The Early Origins of Human Rights from the Bible to the Middle Ages

1. The Bible

2. Mahayanna Buddhism: Description of a Bodhisattva

3. Plato: Republic (c. 400 B.C.E.)

4. Aristotle:

Politics (c. 384-322 B.C.E.)

5. Cicero: (The Laws) (52 B.C.E.)

6. Epictectus:Discourses (c. 135)

7. Saint Paul:The New Testament (c. 50 AC)

8.Saint Augustine: The City of God (413-426)

9. The Koran (c. 632)

10. Magna Charta


11.Saint Thomas Aquinas:Summa Theologica (1265-1273)

12. Bartolom de Las Casas: Defense of the Indians (c. 1548)


1. Hugo Grotius:On Laws of War and Peace


2. Thomas Hobbes: The Leviathan (1651)

3. Habeas Corpus (1679)

4. The English Bill of Rights (1689)

5. John Locke: The Second Treatise


6. Abb Charles de Saint Peirre: Abridgement of the Project of

Perpetual Peace (1658-1743)

7. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: A. Judgement of St. Pierre's Project of Perpetual Peace (1756) B. On The Geneva Manuscript (1762)

8. Cesare Beccaria: Treatise on Crimes and Punishments (1766)

9. The

American Declaration of Independence (1776)

10. Thomas Paine: A. "African Slavery in America" (1775); B. The Rights of Man (1792)

11. Immanuel Kant: Perpetual Peace (1795), Metaphysics of Morals (1797)

12. The French Declaration of

the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789)

13. Olympe de Gouge: The Declaration of the Rights of Woman (1790)

14. Mary Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)

15. Maximilien de Robespierre:"On Property Rights" (1793)


1. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: A. What is Property? or An Inquiry into the Principle of Rights and Government (1840)B. The Principle of Federalism (1863)

2. Karl Marx: A. The Jewish

Question (1843); B. The Communist Manifesto (1848); C. "The Universal Suffrage" (1850); D. "The Inaugural Address of the Working Men's International Association" (1864); E. Critique of the Gotha Program (1891)

3. Friedrich Engels: A. The Anti-D3~hring

(1878); B. The Origins of the Family (1884)

4. August Bebel: Women and Socialism (1883); PART


1. Steven Lukes: Five Fables of Human Rights (1993)

2. Richard Mohr: Gays/Justice (1988)

3. Vandana Shiva: "Women, Development, and Socialism" (1989)

4. Richard Rorty: "Human Rights Rationality and Sentimentality" (1993)

5. Rhonda Howard and Jack Donnelly: "Liberalism and Human Rights: A

Necessary Connection" (1996)

6. Eric Hobsbawn: "The Universalism of the Left." (1996) PART V. THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION

1. John Stuart Mill: On Nationality as Connected with Representative Government (1861)

2. Rosa Luxemburg: "The

National Question and Autonomy" (1909)

3. Woodrow Wilson: "Fourteen Points Address" (1918)

4. The Covenant of the League of Nations (1919)

5. Polish Minority Treaty (1919)

6. Frantz Fanon: Wretched of the Earth (1963)



1. John Locke: "Of the Dissolution of Government" (1690)

2. Karl Marx: A. The Communist Manifesto (1848)

. The Class Struggles in France (1850); C. "The Possibility of a Non Violent Revolution" (1872)

3. Karl Kautsky:

Dictatorship of the Proletariat (1918)

4. Leon Trotsky: Their Moral and Ours (1918-1921)

5. John Dewey: "Means and Ends" (1938)

6. Mahatma Gandhi: A. "Passive Resistance" (1909) B. "An Appeal to the Nation" (1924) C. "Means and Ends"; D. "Equal

Distribution through Non-Violence"

7. Michael Walzer: Just and Unjust Wars (1977)

8. David Luban: "Just War and Human Rights" (1980)

9. Micheline Ishay and David Goldfischer: "Human Rights and National Security: Beyond the Dichotomy" (1996)


1. Franklin Roosevelt: "The Four Freedoms" (1937)

2. The UN Charter (1945)

3. The UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

4. The European Convention (1950)

5. The UN Convention on the

Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1951)

6. The European Social Charter 1961)

7. The UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

8. UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)

9. The American Convention


10. The Helsinki Agreement (1975)

11. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979)

12. UN Declaration on The Rights of People to Peace (1984)

13. The UN Declaration on the Right to Development (1986)

14. African Charter on

Human Rights and People's Right (1986)

15. The Vienna Declaration (1993)

16. The Beijing Declaration (1995), and Strategic Objectives and Actions

of every serious student of human rights (Morton Winston, Chair, Board of Directors, Amnesty International USA)

International Studies, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University)

contribution to the classroom literature on rights (Benjamin R. Barber, Director, Walt Whitman Center for the Culture and Politics of Democracy, Rutgers University)

readings can provide a provocative historical and philosophical context to our work (Susannah Sirkin, Deputy Director, Physicians for Human Rights)

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