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 bloc is fully confident that the Lebanese government will spare no effort to preserve and defend Lebanon's rights, natural resources and sovereignty.
Simmons, "Human Rights, Natural Rights, and Human Dignity," 145.
The decision must come in the context of how development projects will affect the land rights, natural resources, customs, and lifestyle of indigenous communities.
Activists who defend human rights, natural resources, justice, and the rule of law become targets for powerful forces that, feeling a threat to their interests when corruption is exposed, do not hesitate to kill.
By these laws, rights, natural or acquired, are confirmed, in the same manner, to all; to the weak and artless, their small acquisitions, as well as to the strong and artful, their large ones.
The areas covered include material living conditions; employment, health, education, leisure and social interactions, economic and physical safety, governance and basic rights, natural and living environment; personal relationships and overall life satisfaction.
I am writing you as a long-term subscriber to Americas who has enjoyed reading your magazine for more than a decade because of the diverse subject matter of your stories and photography in areas dealing with history, arts and culture, human rights, natural wonders and adventures, climate change, religion, sports, and the OAS activities, to name a few.
1984) (making his famous claim that rights do not exist); TRACEY ROWLAND, CULTURE AND THE THOMIST TRADITION: AFTER VATICAN II 152-54 (2003) (echoing MacIntyre); BRIAN TIERNEY, THE IDEA OF NATURAL RIGHTS: STUDIES ON NATURAL RIGHTS, NATURAL LAW, AND CHURCH LAW 1150-1625, at 29-30 (1997) (briefly summarizing Michel Villey's view that subjective rights originated with Ockham's nominalism); Douglas Kries, In Dedense of Fortin, 64 REV.
He desperately tries to marshal evidence that early American case law sharply and clearly distinguished between common and natural law, but his evidence tends to show the very opposite: that courts referred to 'fundamental law' as including all kinds of different and barely distinguishable elements, including common and natural law, natural rights, natural justice, and the principles of the 'social compact'.
In the Introduction, Judge Andrew Napolitano discusses natural rights, Natural Law, and Positivism.
Williams is also a member of the natural resources and real estate practice groups where she primarily practices water rights, natural resources, energy and real property law.
Abdel Salam observed in their paper "Land rights, natural resources tenure and land reform", that Sudan has many problems of land ownership in common with other countries in Africa.