natural rights


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natural rights,

political theory that maintains that an individual enters into society with certain basic rights and that no government can deny these rights. The modern idea of natural rights grew out of the ancient and medieval doctrines of natural lawnatural law,
theory that some laws are basic and fundamental to human nature and are discoverable by human reason without reference to specific legislative enactments or judicial decisions.
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, i.e., the belief that people, as creatures of nature and God, should live their lives and organize their society on the basis of rules and precepts laid down by nature or God. With the growth of the idea of individualism, especially in the 17th cent., natural law doctrines were modified to stress the fact that individuals, because they are natural beings, have rights that cannot be violated by anyone or by any society. Perhaps the most famous formulation of this doctrine is found in the writings of John LockeLocke, John
, 1632–1704, English philosopher, founder of British empiricism. Locke summed up the Enlightenment in his belief in the middle class and its right to freedom of conscience and right to property, in his faith in science, and in his confidence in the goodness of
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. Locke assumed that humans were by nature rational and good, and that they carried into political society the same rights they had enjoyed in earlier stages of society, foremost among them being freedom of worship, the right to a voice in their own government, and the right of property. Jean Jacques RousseauRousseau, Jean Jacques
, 1712–78, Swiss-French philosopher, author, political theorist, and composer. Life and Works

Rousseau was born at Geneva, the son of a Calvinist watchmaker.
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 attempted to reconcile the natural rights of the individual with the need for social unity and cooperation through the idea of the social contractsocial contract,
agreement or covenant by which men are said to have abandoned the "state of nature" to form the society in which they now live. The theory of such a contract, first formulated by the English philosophers Thomas Hobbes (in the Leviathan,
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. The most important elaboration of the idea of natural rights came in the North American colonies, however, where the writings of Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, and Thomas PainePaine, Thomas,
1737–1809, Anglo-American political theorist and writer, b. Thetford, Norfolk, England. The son of a working-class Quaker, he became an excise officer and was dismissed from the service after leading (1772) agitation for higher salaries.
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 made of the natural rights theory a powerful justification for revolution. The classic expressions of natural rights are the English Bill of Rights (1689), the American Declaration of Independence (1776), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789), the first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States (known as the Bill of Rights, 1791), and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations (1948).

Bibliography

See B. F. Wright, American Interpretation of Natural Law (1931, repr. 1962); L. Strauss, Natural Right and History (1957); O. J. Stone, Human Law and Human Justice (1965); R. Tuck, Natural Rights Theories (1982); L. L. Weinreb, Natural Law and Justice (1987); R. Hittinger, A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory (1988).

References in periodicals archive ?
The Veterans Fair costs 10 dollars in advance and 15 dollars at the door with all the proceeds going to Veterans for Natural Rights, a national organization dedicated to removing barriers for veterans to access medicine that alleviates ailments related to service.
The modern concepts of these thinkers, the State of Nature, the Law of Nature, the Social Contract, and, of course, Natural Rights are not symbols of experience complementary to, or rooted in, the philosophic quest of classical philosophy.
Civil rights are those natural rights which we have not only by virtue of being human--this is true of all natural rights--but also by virtue of our membership in civil society, and which we cannot enforce "on our own.
Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders' premise, which was: Liberty pre-exists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when ''instituted'' to ''secure'' natural rights.
Nonetheless, there are practical and theoretical difficulties that attend that endeavor, not the least of which is his attempted synthesis of natural law and inalienable natural rights, a synthesis that threatens to lead to a serious confusion on the part of Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Undoubtedly, origin theory of natural rights must be sought in view of the ancient Greek philosophers such they can be pointed to Sysron and Aquinas.
From the concept and value of natural rights to change environment and society alike to economic development and the concept of natural law, this packs in specific events and icons of American history and offers a new perspective.
This disagreement correlates with two further issues--the legitimate purposes of government and the natural rights of humanity.
All marriages have been recently treated by the courts and the cabal of lawyers who control them as strictly civil in nature, hence undoing the protection once afforded natural rights that are transferred and created by a natural marriage.
PENNSYLVANIA (CyHAN)- Well-known Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah GE-len has voiced strong support for education in one's mother tongue, in reference to allowing the use of Kurdish in education in Turkey, and said basic human rights and freedoms could not be the object of any political bargaining as they are the natural rights of human beings.
First, one prominent natural rights regime is based on a theory that we came out of the state of nature, brought with us certain rights, and never gave up those rights upon entering society,
Moral Psychological Aspects in William of Ockham's Theory of Natural Rights, VIRPI MAKINEN

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