The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Origins, Drafting, and Intent

Overview

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book for 1999

Born of a shared revulsion against the horrors of the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has become the single most important statement of international ethics. It was inspired by and reflects the full scope of President Franklin Roosevelt's famous four freedoms: "the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear." Written by a UN ...

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Overview

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book for 1999

Born of a shared revulsion against the horrors of the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has become the single most important statement of international ethics. It was inspired by and reflects the full scope of President Franklin Roosevelt's famous four freedoms: "the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear." Written by a UN commission led by Eleanor Roosevelt and adopted in 1948, the Declaration has become the moral backbone of more than two hundred human rights instruments that are now a part of our world. The result of a truly international negotiating process, the document has been a source of hope and inspiration to thousands of groups and millions of oppressed individuals.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The definitive work on the drafting of the twentieth century's most important human rights document."—Philip Alston, European University Institute

"Well-written and abundantly documented, Morsink's book makes a uniquely important contribution to our understanding of this key document. Morsink carefully summarizes the arguments and counter arguments that were set forth, often heatedly and vigorously, by the various protagonists who participated in the discussions that led to the Universal Declaration in its present form."—Alan Gewirth, University of Chicago

"Revealing and useful."—Michael Ignatieff, New York Review of Books

"Definitive. Essential reading for everyone interested in human rights."—David P. Forsythe, Choice

"Morsink merges history and philosophy in a way that simultaneously roots the Universal Declaration in a particular time and place and reveals its enduring contemporary significance and value."—Jack Donnelly, Human Rights Quarterly

"No other books takes the reader behind the scenes into the drafting details. . . . [Morsink's] seminal account merits reading by all invested in the Declaration—activist, academic, official, or victim."—Jerome E. Shestack, American Journal of International Law

"A splendid volume . . . fused with political and philosophical insight into the fundamental concepts underlying the Declaration."—American Journal of International Law

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812217476
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Series: Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
  • Pages: 396
  • Sales rank: 852,719
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Johannes Morsink is Professor of Political Philosophy in the Department of Political Science at Drew University. He is the author of Aristotle on the Generation of Animals.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Declaration at Fifty
The Drafting Process Explained
The United Nations Charter and the Declaration
The Seven Drafting Stages
Original Intentions and the Cold War
The Eight Abstentions
Authors, Title, and Addressees
World War II as Catalyst
Personal Security and the Camps
Nazification and Legal Human Rights
The Problem with the Nuremberg Trials
Democracy, Free Speech, and Hate Speech
Special International Human Rights and the Role of the United Nations
Social, Economic, and Cultural Examples
Colonies, Minorities, and Women's Rights
The Communist Push for Nondiscrimination
The Problem of the Colonies
Race, Color, National Origin, and Language
Political Opinion, Property, and Birth
The Women's Lobby and Women's Rights
Privacy and Different Kinds of Property
The Latin American Connection
Inviolability and Privacy Rights
Should Personal Property Be Singled Out?
"Alone as Well as in Association with Others''
A Minimum Within a Larger Framework
The Socialist Shape of Work-Related Rights
Freedom and the Right to Work
The Right to Protection Against Unemployment
The Campaign for Trade Union Rights
Union Shops, Strikes, and Levels of Implementation
Conditions: "Human Labour Is Not a Merchandise''
Social Security, Education, and Culture
Food, Clothing, Housing, and Medical Care
Troubles with the Phrase "Social Security''
The Rights to Full Development, Education, and Culture
The Distinction Between "Old'' and "New'' Human Rights
The Organic Unity of the Document
Duties and Communities
The Duties and Communities of Article 29
Protecting the Family, Motherhood,and Childhood
The Rights of Religious and Educational Communities
The Omission of a Special Minority Rights Article
Article 1, the Preamble, and the Enlightenment
A Bargain About God and Nature
"Inherent,'' "Inalienable,'' and "Born''
Reason and "the Conscience of Mankind''
The Rights to Petition and Rebellion
Human Rights as Means and Ends
The Declaration and Human Rights Education
Appendix: The Universal Declaration of Human
Rights with a Guide to Discussions of Specific Topics and Articles
Notes
Acknowledgments

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