Individual human rights are an essential part of our lives today. It can be hard to imagine life without them. But they didn’t just appear out of thin air. They were written down in documents that asserted these rights for individuals all over the world.
Some examples of these early documents that helped shape modern human rights law and thinking around the world today are listed below.
The Magna Carta (1215)
The Magna Carta is a charter agreed by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215, first drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons.
It promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown. It established that everyone had rights, including free men, nobles, and peasants alike.
The English Bill of Rights (1689)
The English Bill of Rights (1689) is a document that Parliament passed in 1689. It sets out certain rights of individuals, provides for the succession to the Crown, and lays down limits on royal power.
This historical document has been used as an inspiration for many other documents worldwide, including the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.
French Declaration on Rights of Man and Citizen (1789)
The French Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789) is a document that was drafted during the French Revolution. It defines a set of individual rights to be held by all citizens.
It remains relevant today as an important historical document. It has been translated into many languages and continues to inspire people worldwide who are fighting for their freedoms.
US Constitution and Bill of Rights (1791)
The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights are the supreme law of the United States. They were signed in 1791 by George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton.
The first ten amendments to the constitution make up what is known as the Bill of Rights. These rights include freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, protection against unreasonable search and seizure, due process under law, and many more.
These documents laid down some pretty necessary groundwork for modern-day human rights legislation. They also helped shape many countries’ constitutions today.