Human rights history

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The famous Babylonian king Hammurabi, was the first ruler who had written code of laws. The laws of Hammurabi were written on a giant stone pillar, called stele. His rules were based on the ancient principle of ’eye for an eye’. Beside that, this code was the first appearance of ’presumption of innocence’, the protection of the weaker and the idea of ’common good’.


The Bible says that Moses wrote down Ten Commandments, the will of God on  the Mount Sinai. Basic principles are: don’t kill, don’t steal, respect your family and don’t bear false witness. Siddhartha Gautama, founder of another great religion Buddhism taught respect of life, nonviolence and purity to his followers.


The political career of Pericles was linked with the golden age of democracy in Athens. The classical democracy is the rule of the people (demos), where everybody is equal before the law, freedom is the basic principle and always the majority decides.


The nobles of England and the Hungarian Kingdom fought for their rights almost the same time. The 2 written documents (Magna Charta Libertatum, Bulla Aurea) had many commonalities, like the ban of imprisonment without legal judgment or the right of resistance if the king violates the law.


The American ’Declaration of Independence’  and the French ’Declaration of Human and Civil Rights’ were based on the thoughts of the masterminds of age of Enlightenment, like John Locke, Thomas Jefferson or Montesquieu. These documents declared the principles of freedom, fraternity and equality.


As the effect of Industrialization the working class evolved. Many new philosophies dealt with the rights and living conditions of labors: anarchists, Christian socialists, socialists. Karl Marx and Johannes Engels tried to unify these ideas at the Second International.


The first step to end slavery was the pact between England and France about the prohibition of slave trade. In the US  president Lincoln freed the slaves during the civil war. By the end of 19th century several international agreements against slavery were signed.

Created by: András Nyirati