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History Of Human Rights - Essay Example

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The intent of this essay is to examine and analyze Jeremy Benthams' critique of the rights of man in his work 'Anarchical Fallacies: Being an Examination of the Declaration of Rights issued during the French Revolution. By means of library research, such as journal articles and academic books, relevant evidence was extracted, to know how legitimate is Jeremy Benthams' critique of the rights of man in his work…
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History Of Human Rights
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Download file to see previous pages Westminster School and at the age of twelve was sent off to Oxford (Queen's College). From 1763, he studied law at Lincoln's Inn and was called to the bar in 1772. Jeremy Bentham was an English philosopher and political radical. Although he never practiced law, he spent most of his life critiquing the existing law and strongly advocating legal reform. Bentham is primarily known today for his moral philosophy, especially his principle of utilitarianism which evaluates actions based upon their consequences, in particular the overall happiness created for everyone affected by the action. He maintained that putting this principle into consistent practice would provide justification for social, political, and legal institutions. Although Bentham's influence was minor during his life, his impact was greater in later years as his ideas were carried on by followers such as John Stuart Mill, John Austin, and other consequentialists.During 1776, Bentham brought out his first major work, A Fragment on Government.3 It was about this time, too, that Bentham was to become a friend with a powerful lord, Lord Shelburne (1737-1805). Apparently, through the auspices of Lord Shelburne, Bentham was able to take time, to travel and to write.
He [Bentham] has lived for the last f...
His eye is quick and lively; but it glances not from object to object, but from thought to thought. He is evidently a man occupied with some train of fine and inward association. He regards the people about him no more than the flies of summer. He meditates the coming age. He hears and sees only what suits his purpose, or some 'foregone conclusion'; and looks out for facts and passing occurrences in order to put them into his logical machinery and grind them into the dust and powder of some subtle theory, as the miller looks out for grist to his mill!" (William Hazlitt.)
Bentham's Philosophy
Jeremy Bentham figured that laws should be socially useful and not merely reflect the status quo; and, that while he believed that men inevitably pursue pleasure and avoid pain, Bentham thought it to be a "sacred truth" that "the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation." Bentham supposed that the whole of morality could be derived from "enlightened self-interest," and that a person who always acted with a view to his own maximum satisfaction in the long run would always act rightly. Bentham is to be compared to William Godwin: they resembled one another in their "blind contempt for the past." While each preached the need for nonviolent revolution, each had a different following. Bentham's revolution was to be effected by legislation, Godwin's by argument.
French Revolution:-
The French Revolution (1789-1799) was a pivotal period in the history of French, European and Western civilization. During this time, republicanism replaced the absolute monarchy in France, and the country's Roman Catholic Church was forced to undergo a radical restructuring. While France would oscillate among republic, empire, and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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