Chapter

Equal Rights: Equalizing the Individual's Status and the Breakthrough of the Modern Liberal State⋆

in From Vienna to Chicago and Back

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780226776361
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226776385 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226776385.003.0013
Equal Rights: Equalizing the Individual's Status and the Breakthrough of the Modern Liberal State⋆

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This chapter describes the individual's status and the breakthrough of the modern liberal State. The gradated nature of the politico-legal order of ancien régime society was embedded within a gradated, hierarchical notion of the universe. Then, it addresses “reservoirs of equality” with relevance for the transitions from a society of orders to a society based on equal rights. The modern State appeared prior to the French Revolution in England and America. The constitutionalization of individual rights first began in the North American colonies. The discourse on the rights of men and citizens has enabled claims for the equalizing of status differences. The breakthrough of equal rights, the breakthrough of political ideas and purposes associated with “Human Rights,” or the tendency towards the generalization and equalization of legal capacities, provide fundamental criteria for distinguishing the modern liberal State (and society) from other types of State.

Keywords: equal rights; modern liberal State; reservoirs of equality; French Revolution; individual rights; status differences; constitutionalization; England; America

Chapter.  12509 words. 

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