The Theory Of Human Rights

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While the concept of human rights was not first developed during the Enlightenment period it made great advances during this time due to the change in thinking that took place. According to Kocchar online, “The thinkers of the Enlightenment believed that human reason could discover the natural laws of the universe, determine the natural rights of humankind, and thereby achieve continuous progress in human knowledge, technology, and society.” (Lesson I) This description of the change in thought is key to the development of human rights during the Enlightenment. However, the application of science based reasoning had both positive and negative consequences in this development. While there were positive changes such as the abolition of torture and slavery, reform of the penal code and an increasingly universalistic application of human rights there was also the rise of biological based exclusion theory and a rise in ethnic nationalism which were purported by “scientific” theories developed during this time period. First and foremost, prior to the Enlightenment period there were many laws governing how people should act towards one another. Going as far back as Egypt in 3100 BCE there was a code of conduct written by Menes, the first Pharaoh. Similarly, in the years that followed, there was the code of Hammurabi in ancient Babylon, the Judaic text of the Torah, and the Charter of Freedom of Mankind by the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great. This document is considered to be
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