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Publisher's Summary

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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." These stirring words from the Declaration of Independence are a powerful statement of the importance of human rights in Western civilization. But many of the freedoms we enjoy today were not so "self-evident" to lawmakers throughout much of our history.
Instead, many of those freedoms - from racial segregation, from enslavement, from persecution for one's religion or ethnicity - were the result of long and fierce struggles that took place in courtrooms and meeting rooms, in churches and on battlefields, in classrooms and on streets, at home and abroad, often over many years.
Now an award-winning author and honored teacher and scholar tells you this inspirational and profound story in a series of 24 riveting, often moving lectures designed to strengthen your appreciation of both your rights and the long struggles to obtain them.
You'll follow the battle for human rights from the initial visions of history's greatest philosophers, religious leaders, and political thinkers to those who fought to make their visions of equality a reality, including Lucretia Mott, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela. Each lecture gives you an overview of historical movements like the struggle for women's suffrage, the emancipation of serfs and slaves, and the development of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

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By marcelo velasquez on 11-28-16

great set of lectures and a really good narrator

this is a great book really easy to understand and with a comprehensive history of the evolution of human rights

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By Anthony on 08-31-15

Excellent lecture series on Human Rights

Well structured, presented, informative and engaging lecture series on human rights and the "rights of man". Presented by Paul Gordon Laurent, a respected writer on the history of human rights, it charts their evolution through a series of carefully chosen chapters exploring the ideas, people, and contexts in which the struggles for human rights gained momentum. This valuable text introduces listeners to the back-stories behind the need for protecting human rights as a counter to the horrors of which man is capable.

The lectures are surprisingly easy to listen to and Lauren is generous with insightful comments about context, the actors and organisations involved, and the importance and limitations of structures, documents and ideas. Every now and again he emphasises a point, drawing links to other chapters and events, or encouraging the listener to ponder his words, for a moment. He draws us into the lives and thinking of contributors to this ongoing project and does not shy away from the many challenges and limitations that remain. He emphasises the roles not only of great thinkers and leaders but of all of us, of civil society, NGOs, and the governments which frame the circumstances of our lives.

Each chapter opens the door to issues which warrant deeper reflection and analysis ... that is our task but will benefit from Lauren's excellent and comprehensive overview.

Highly recommended for anybody interested in the world and its politics, the inequities we see around us, and the challenges of promoting social justice and human rights.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Marc Schultz on 12-09-16

Meaningful, motivating and well worth the time. Thank you Prof. Lauren

Great historical and meaningful review of where we are in the evolutionary journey of human rights.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Alison on 06-03-16

highly recommended

Very challenging and enlightening. I thoroughly recommend this course to anyone interested in human rights past, present and future.

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By Amazon Customer on 06-09-15

The history and development of rights

This is an indispensable read. In fact you can only read this because of the efforts of the people described in its pages (or audio files).

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