The 'Great Doctrine of Human Rights': articulation and authentication in the nineteenth-century U.S. antislavery and women’s rights movements

Article


Stevenson, Ana. 2017. "The 'Great Doctrine of Human Rights': articulation and authentication in the nineteenth-century U.S. antislavery and women’s rights movements." Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development. 8 (3), pp. 413-439. https://doi.org/10.1353/hum.2017.0026
Article Title

The 'Great Doctrine of Human Rights': articulation and authentication in the nineteenth-century U.S. antislavery and women’s rights movements

ERA Journal ID123725
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorStevenson, Ana
Journal TitleHumanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development
Journal Citation8 (3), pp. 413-439
Number of Pages27
Year2017
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN2151-4364
2151-4372
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1353/hum.2017.0026
Web Address (URL)https://muse.jhu.edu/article/684768
Abstract

Human rights are often considered a twentieth-century phenomenon, yet the concept has its ideological foundations in earlier social movements. During the nineteenth century, human rights periodically emerged as a contested concept, their meaning in constant flux. When the rhetoric of human rights did appear, it was at important junctures between the antislavery and women’s rights movements. Early allusions were shaped by a tradition of humanitarianism and paternalism, relying on intertextual references and authenticating documents to validate this fledgling idea. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, women’s suffragists attributed a far more recognizable, universalistic meaning to the concept of human rights.

KeywordsUnited States, antislavery, women’s rights, suffrage, humanitarian, humanity, human rights, nineteenth century
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020430321. North American history
430312. Histories of race
430309. Gender history
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of the Free State, South Africa
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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