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"Natural right - the idea that there is a collection of laws and rights based not on custom or belief but that are "natural" in origin - is typically associated with liberal politics and freedom. But during the French Revolution, this tradition was interpreted to justify the most repressive actions of the violent period known as the Terror." "In The Terror of Natural Right, Dan Edelstein argues that the revolutionaries used the natural right concept of the "enemy of the human race" - an individual who has transgressed the laws of nature and must be executed without judicial formalities - to authorize three-quarters of the deaths during the Terror. But the significance of the natural right did not end with its legal application. Edelstein argues that the Jacobins shared a political philosophy that he calls "natural republicanism," which assumed the natural state of society was a republic and that natural right provided its only acceptable laws. Ultimately, he argues that what we call the Terror was in fact only one facet of the republican theory that prevailed from Louis's trial until the fall of Robespierre." "A work of historical analysis, political theory, literary criticism, and intellectual history, The Terror of Natural Right challenges prevailing assumptions of the Terror to offer a new perspective on the Revolutionary period."--BOOK JACKET.
By the end of the eighteenth century, politicians in America and France were invoking the natural rights of man to wrest sovereignty away from kings and lay down universal basic entitlements. Exactly how and when did “rights” come to justify such measures? In On the Spirit of Rights, Dan Edelstein answers this question by examining the complex genealogy of the rights that regimes enshrined in the American and French Revolutions. With a lively attention to detail, he surveys a sprawling series of debates among rulers, jurists, philosophers, political reformers, writers, and others who were all engaged in laying the groundwork for our contemporary systems of constitutional governance. Every seemingly new claim about rights turns out to be a variation on a theme, as late medieval notions were subtly repeated and refined to yield the talk of “rights” we recognize today. From the Wars of Religion to the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, On the Spirit of Rights is a sweeping tour through centuries of European intellectual history and an essential guide to our ways of thinking about human rights today.
In this concise, bold, and innovative book, Dan Edelstein offers us an original account of the Enlightenment. It convincingly argues that the Enlightenment is above all a narrative about social and cultural changes and that its origins can be found in the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns. Therefore, by reconsidering the importance of the French esprit philosophique in the Euroean Enlightenment, this book will be of considerable importance for every scholar and student interested in this period.
For two hundred years after the French Revolution, the Republican tradition celebrated the execution of princes and aristocrats, defending the Terror that the Revolution inflicted upon on its enemies. But recent decades have brought a marked change in sensibility. The Revolution is no longer judged in terms of historical necessity but rather by “timeless” standards of morality. In this succinct essay, Sophie Wahnich explains how, contrary to prevailing interpretations, the institution of Terror sought to put a brake on legitimate popular violence—in Danton’s words, to “be terrible so as to spare the people the need to be so”—and was subsequently subsumed in a logic of war. The Terror was “a process welded to a regime of popular sovereignty, the only alternatives being to defeat tyranny or die for liberty.”
Translated from the French.
Uniquely relevant in a world shaken by recent acts of terror, this title calls people of faith to the way of peace, the Christian response to evil and violence.
Author Alberto M. Piedra lucidly illustrates the notion of "natural law" through the examination of economic, social, political, and cultural issues. In this work Piedra draws on classical and Christian sources as well as his personal experience as an economist, diplomat, and lecturer on world politics to address philosophical views in a constructive and morally guided exegesis of natural law and economics. This innovative book shows the value of appeals to a governing, natural law and attendant principles such as the common good, subsidiarity, hierarchy, spiritual welfare, the reciprocity of freedom and authority, and the cultivation of personal moral and intellectual virtue. Natural Law will appeal to scholars, professionals, and others interested in the cultivation of personal moral and intellectual virtue.
Previous edition, 1st, published in 1993.
Time is the backdrop of historical inquiry, yet it is much more than a featureless setting for events. Different temporalities interact dynamically; sometimes they coexist tensely, sometimes they clash violently. In this innovative volume, editors Dan Edelstein, Stefanos Geroulanos, and Natasha Wheatley challenge how we interpret history by focusing on the nexus of two concepts—“power” and “time”—as they manifest in a wide variety of case studies. Analyzing history, culture, politics, technology, law, art, and science, this engaging book shows how power is constituted through the shaping of temporal regimes in historically specific ways. Power and Time includes seventeen essays on human rights; sovereignty; Islamic, European, Chinese, and Indian history; slavery; capitalism; revolution; the Supreme Court; the Anthropocene; and even the Manson Family. Power and Time will be an agenda-setting volume, highlighting the work of some of the world’s most respected and original contemporary historians and posing fundamental questions for the craft of history.
To those who invoke them, rights are powerful instruments for settling arguments in favour of the right-holders. But the nature, provenance and justification of rights are uncertain and disputed and there are doubts about whether rights should play a distinctive and fundamental role in moral and political discourse. More recent disgreements have centred on group rights and on whether rights have a universal application across different cultures and moral traditions. These and other related issues are explored in depth by the essays in this volume, which are mostly drawn from a wide range of journals in philosophy, politics and law.
The 15 selections provide students of political, social, and legal philosophy with a representative survey of the intersection of politics and law from a variety of western philosophical traditions in the classical, modern, and contemporary eras. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

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