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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of History

Colin Wilder Origins of Inalienable and Imprescriptible Human Rights, 1625-1761

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 3:30pm

Dr. Colin Wilder, Center for Digital Humanities, University of South Carolina

A History of Inalienable and Imprescriptible Rights. 1625-1761
A works-in-progress seminar discussing his pre-circulated paper.

Gambrell 431

This paper argues that inalienable and imprescriptible human rights became fundamental assumptions of civil and international law in Europe during the period 1625-1761. Hugo Grotius appropriated and augmented the existing tradition of human rights theory, newly predicating these rights as inalienable and imprescriptible, and then made this rights concept the basis for his system of international law. After Grotius, numerous thinkers in northern Europe such as Johann Georg Estor further adapted and elaborated on the concept, variously extending and narrowing it, and made it part of the system of everyday civil law in the Holy Roman Empire. These theses contribute to historical scholarship by filling a gap in our knowledge of human rights theory and practice in Europe in the early modern period, especially their influence on ordinary civil law.

Please email for the password granting access to the paper.