Human Rights
New Advance

Human Rights



  • Age of Reason
  • Nationalism



  • Emancipation Act
  • Democracy


The concept that people have rights simply because they are people instead of members of a special class or group is a powerful one. It makes slavery morally impossible and leads to the Emancipation Act to abolish it.
It also leads to the form of government known as Democracy. A Democracy is fit for peace-loving, medium-sized empires that wish to Grow and Advance. People tend to be content, as long as they are free to go about their business. Although they are loyal to the state, citizens in a Democracy have little tolerance for war or Cities overrun with Garrisoned forces. Democracies value good Science, a clean environment and an honest day’s Work above all.


Universal human rights have been approached at various times in history, but always there was some qualification attached. Rights were inevitably tied to membership in some identifiable group, and denied to others. Documents like the English Magna Carta (’Great Charter") might imply that all men were equally required to obey the law, but in practice it applied only to the nobility of England. The rise of Rationalism in the 18th century, and the discussions of philosophers like Rousseau, Voltaire, and John Locke, began to lay the groundwork. The official documentary foundations of the American and French revolutions made it explicit: All men are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and the Rights of Man. Practical application would fall very short for years to come, as women, the poor, and identifiable minorities in even the most progressive societies were still excluded, but the moral and ethical path was paved, and would be inevitably followed.

Throughout history, democracy (from the Greek words demos, meaning "people," and kratos, meaning "rule") took three basic forms: a) direct democracy, in which the right to engage in the political process was able to be exercised by citizens as a whole, acting under procedures of majority rule; b) representative democracy, in which citizens exercised the same right through representatives chosen by and accountable to them; c) constitutional democracy, a form of representative democracy in which the powers of the majority were exercised within a structure of constitutional restraints designed to insure all citizens’ enjoyment of individual and collective rights.
Democracy was born in ancient Greek city-states where the whole body of citizens acted as a legislature. This system was possible because populations of these city-states rarely exceeded 10,000 people and women and slaves had no political rights. Executive and judicial offices were filled by popular election or lottery assignment. There was no separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers. Despite these early beginnings, modern democracies did not take their cues from the brief period of Greek democracy. Age of Enlightenment-era thinkers began to infatuate themselves with the classical concepts of democracy and the republic. In 1789, the United States Congress enacted one of the most successful constitutional democracies in history with the ratifying of the U.S. Constitution. Representative democracy continued to garner adherents throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, making it one of the most successful political concepts of the modern age.