Modern History and Human Rights

The idea of Human Rights as we know it today did not surface until the mid 18th century.

Ethical philosophers like Immanuel Kant explored the idea that humans have natural rights; rights that the government or any other person should not have the ability to suspend.

Kant postulated that humans were naturally and inherently virtuous and that all rational people were moral. He argued that being “good” was rational, and only irrational people could be called “evil” or “immoral”. This idea differed markedly from other philosophers of the time. Ethical theory was at the volatile forefront of intellectual development, and changed with such unpredictability that the period gave rise to most major philosophies that were responsible for structuring the modern political world. These ideas would challenge the right of kings to rule the people without consent, and taught much of the world of the evEils of despotic governments.

The late early modern period gave rise to the modern world. New governments sprung from a transitional landscape, and revolutionaries brought down the ancient reign of monarchs. Federal systems organized country-sized regions into a conglomerated nation, and the conflict between ideologies began.

With such a fast-changing new world, expediency gave way to violent ideologies. The Nazis persecuted groups of peoples, in order to spur their torpid economy and their imperial goals in Europe. When these atrocities occurred, international organizations formed; organizations that reached across sovereign states and borders.

Organizing international organizations to protect the basic rights of humans became much easier after the advent of the Internet. Humans Right Watch, the largest global human rights organization, was able to globalize their agenda, and easily access alternative journals from around the world. The citizens of countries that were once left in a media blackout finally had a voice. Forums and websites organized that allowed for the growth of underground journalism, giving a clear picture of the infrastructural layout of military states, such as Myanmar (Burma).

The Human Rights Watch and other international human organizations focus on preserving the rights of humans around the world. They are classified as charitable organizations in the United States, and use their resources to improve the lives of people in Third World countries, or people in oppressive nations. The HWR monitors and alerts the world of human rights violations, keeping an eye on suspicious nations that appear to be mistreating their citizens, or limiting their basic living rights.