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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Origins, Drafting, and Intent

Johannes Morsink

396 pages | 7 x 10
Paper 2000 | ISBN 9780812217476 | $42.50s | Outside the Americas £34.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
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Winner of the the Certificate of Merit for 2000 from the American Society of International Law

"The definitive work on the drafting of the twentieth century's most important human rights document."—Philip Alston, European University Institute
"Well-written and abundantly documented, Morsink's book makes a uniquely important contribution to our understanding of this key document. Morsink carefully summarizes the arguments and counter arguments that were set forth, often heatedly and vigorously, by the various protagonists who participated in the discussions that led to the Universal Declaration in its present form."—Alan Gewirth, University of Chicago

"Revealing and useful."—Michael Ignatieff, New York Review of Books

"Definitive. Essential reading for everyone interested in human rights."—David P. Forsythe, Choice

"Morsink merges history and philosophy in a way that simultaneously roots the Universal Declaration in a particular time and place and reveals its enduring contemporary significance and value."—Jack Donnelly, Human Rights Quarterly

"No other books takes the reader behind the scenes into the drafting details. . . . [Morsink's] seminal account merits reading by all invested in the Declaration—activist, academic, official, or victim."—Jerome E. Shestack, American Journal of International Law

"A splendid volume . . . fused with political and philosophical insight into the fundamental concepts underlying the Declaration."—American Journal of International Law

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book for 1999

Born of a shared revulsion against the horrors of the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has become the single most important statement of international ethics. It was inspired by and reflects the full scope of President Franklin Roosevelt's famous four freedoms: "the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear." Written by a UN commission led by Eleanor Roosevelt and adopted in 1948, the Declaration has become the moral backbone of more than two hundred human rights instruments that are now a part of our world. The result of a truly international negotiating process, the document has been a source of hope and inspiration to thousands of groups and millions of oppressed individuals.

Johannes Morsink is Professor of Political Philosophy in the Department of Political Science at Drew University. He is the author of Aristotle on the Generation of Animals.

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