Human rights are what are believed to belong justifiably to every person. They have gone through an evolution from the creation of the Magna Carta to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that we have today. In this essay I will explicate not only its evolution but as well as where I think we stand today in regards to global human rights.
I believe the concept of human rights began with the creation of the Magna Carta as well as the Habeus Corpus Act. Established in 1215, the Magna Carta spelled out the rights of the barons and also created due process of law which was a constitutional guarantee that a law shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious. Along with this, it also set up the idea that the King had to respect the law. The Habeus Corpus Act was made in 1679 and was considered to be one of the most basic guarantees of human rights. It protected from arbitrary arrest which meant that the prisoner was to be informed of the reason for his or her arrest.
Then after the Habeus Corpus Act came the United States Constitution. It had seven articles, and the first ten amendments were called the Bill of Rights. Made in 1791, the Bill of Rights mirrored many of the rights provided for by the English Bill of Rights and protected basic rights of the people. During the Age of Enlightenment, Napoleon Bonaparte made the Napoleonic Code of 1807 and it brought together many of the reforms from the revolutions under one unified legal system: the belief that all men are equal, freedom of religion and right to work. It influenced French law up to the present. However, it didn’t always preserve all the ideas of the revolution. It dropped the laws dealing with the rights of women. Liberalism was the philosophy that supported the guarantees of individual freedom, political changes, and social reform. It accepted the ideas of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. It encouraged free speech, religious tolerations and freedom of press. France, through Napoleon, helped to spread nationalistic ideals and the desire for personal liberties and freedom. A successful impact of the Revolutions of the 1830s and 1840s was that the ideas of liberalism, socialism and nationalism continued to form and shape Europe in the late 1800s.
In 1750-1914 in the Age of Industrialization, European populations grew from 140 million to 463 million. This increase in population caused for mass amount of people to migrate to cities to find work. Factory conditions mirrored conditions in housing: quickly built to meet demand, poorly constructed and overcrowded. A large supply of unskilled labor caused low wages, and low wages caused poor health. The whole family had to work, women and children in great demands meant they got paid less. They worked 12-16 hours six days a week and had no sick leave. Not to mention, the poor lighting, ventilation and overall poor conditions made working at a factory very difficult. They had no workman’s compensation for injuries which was very dangerous. We now think that this is a violation of human rights, considering children had to work. In 1831, Parliament investigated these cases. Conservatives criticize the working condition and Parliament, then, decides to take action. The Factory Act of 1833 limited working days for children and boys from ages 9-13 and girls couldn’t work for more than eight hours and boys from ages 14-18 couldn’t work for more than 12 hours. The Mines Act of 1842 barred employers from hiring women or girls for work in mines and minimized the age to 13 for hiring boys. They also made up the Ten Hours Act of 1847 which limited the workday for woman and children to 10 hours.
Skilled workers formed trade unions that soon took on political and economic goals such as right to vote, ten hour workday and the right to strike and picket peacefully in the 1870s. From 1870-1914 there seemed to be a massive improvement for workers such as proper ventilation, safety...