On the Origins of Human Rights and Democracy
"Headley flies in the face of post-1960s criticism of the West to argue that the Renaissance and the Reformation laid the groundwork for the world's present understanding of human rights and constitutional democracy... Headley offers considerable evidence for these Western contributions to pushing diverse cultures toward a new, globalized way of life... In a brief epilogue, [he] sets aside his scholarly mien to launch a devastating critique of American policies at home and abroad since 2001... A densely written defense of the Western tradition."--Kirkus Reviews "This is a provocative, compelling, and successful book that traces the culture-transcending qualities of the idea of a common humanity and political dissent in Europe... Balanced and deeply intelligent, Headley's book recasts the role of European civilization in shaping our future."--A.R. Brunello, Choice "John Headley's lucid study of the intellectual origins of human rights and democracy in the European tradition rewards the careful reader... Headley has written an excellent book, penetrating and well-written. The two sections on the United States described above arc in brief, isolated sections, and have little to do with the rest of the book. The reader stands to gain a great deal from this senior scholar's broad analysis of these distinctly European values."--John F. Kicza, Renaissance Quarterly "There is much in this book for Renaissance scholars, historical sociologists, and students of contemporary history. For the ... historically oriented sociologist, the book is an important contribution to understanding the European heritage."--Gerard Delanty, American Historical Review
John M. Headley is professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His books include Tommaso Campanella and the Transformation of the World (Princeton).
List of Illustrations xi Preface xiii Introduction 1 Chapter 1: The Renaissance Defining and Engagement of the Global Arena of Humanity 9 Imperial and Global Motifs in the Advent of the New Geography 13 The Fully Habitable World for Renaissance Europe 31 Chapter 2: The Universalizing Principle and the Idea of a Common Humanity 63 The Universalizing Process: From Christendom to the Civilization of Europeans 66 The Career of Natural Rights in the Early Modern Period 103 Chapter 3: The Emergence of Politically Constituted Dissent in the European World 149 The Initial Constituting of Political Dissent: Thomas More's Horrific Vision 154 Party and Opposition in the Eighteenth-Century Anglo-American Experience 168 Aftermath 195 Epilogue 207 Notes 219 Bibliography 243 Index 269