History of Human Rights - Modern Human Rights Movement - Age of Discovery, Early Modern Period, and Age of Enlightenment

Age of Discovery, Early Modern Period, and Age of Enlightenment

The conquest of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries by Spain, during the Age of Discovery, resulted in vigorous debate about human rights in Colonial Spanish America. This led to the issuance of the Laws of Burgos by Ferdinand the Catholic on behalf of his daughter, Joanna of Castile. Fray Antonio de Montesinos, a Friar of the Dominican Order at the Island of Hispaniola delivered a sermon on December 21, 1511, which was attended by Bartolomé de las Casas. It is believed that reports from the Dominicans in Hispaniola motivated the Spanish Crown to act. The sermon, known as the Christmas Sermon, gave way to further debates from 1550-51 between Las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda at Valladolid. Among the provisions of the Laws of Burgos were child labor; women's rights; wages; suitable accommodations; and rest/vacation, among others.

Several 17th and 18th century European philosophers, most notably John Locke, developed the concept of natural rights, the notion that people are naturally free and equal. Though Locke believed natural rights were derived from divinity since humans were creations of God, his ideas were important in the development of the modern notion of rights. Lockean natural rights did not rely on citizenship nor any law of the state, nor were they necessarily limited to one particular ethnic, cultural or religious group. Around the same time, in 1689 the English Bill of Rights was created.

Two major revolutions occurred during the 18th century in the United States (1776) and in France (1789). The Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 sets up a number of fundamental rights and freedoms. The later United States Declaration of Independence includes concepts of natural rights and famously states "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Similarly, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen defines a set of individual and collective rights of the people. These are, in the document, held to be universal - not only to French citizens but to all men without exception.

Read more about this topic:  History Of Human Rights, Modern Human Rights Movement

Other articles related to "early, age":

Kurt Cobain - Early Life
... His talent as an artist was evident from an early age ... Cobain began developing an interest in music early in his life ... At age four, Cobain started playing the piano and singing, writing a song about their trip to a local park ...

Famous quotes containing the words age of, modern, age and/or early:

    At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.
    Flannery O’Connor (1925–1964)

    The modern American tourist now fills his experience with pseudo-events. He has come to expect both more strangeness and more familiarity than the world naturally offers. He has come to believe that he can have a lifetime of adventure in two weeks and all the thrills of risking his life without any real risk at all.
    Daniel J. Boorstin (b. 1914)

    The age of a woman doesn’t mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles.
    Sigmund Z. Engel (b. 1869)

    It was common practice for me to take my children with me whenever I went shopping, out for a walk in a white neighborhood, or just felt like going about in a white world. The reason was simple enough: if a black man is alone or with other black men, he is a threat to whites. But if he is with children, then he is harmless, adorable.
    —Gerald Early (20th century)