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On the Spirit of Rights Hardcover – 18 Dec 2018

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"Rarely has an existing debate been as authoritatively and breathtakingly taken to a new plane as in Edelstein's sophisticated new story of how 'rights' entered European and transatlantic politics in the age of revolution. Clear, erudite, and urbane, Edelstein has shown once again why he is so highly regarded a historian of the eighteenth century's place in Western intellectual history."--Samuel Moyn, Yale University

"The Spirit of Rights is an erudite, wide-ranging, and powerful reevaluation of the history of human rights in the West. Rather than viewing either (or both) the U.S. Declaration of Independence or the French Declaration of the Rights of Man as constituting a foundational moment of political modernity, Edelstein sees them as marking a moment in a lively and contentious conversation over rights that can be traced back to the sixteenth century and then through to our own day. The consequent expansion of the historical canvas on which rights have been inscribed explodes conventional teleologies. Written with verve and conviction, The Spirit of Rights is a tour de force: compelling, brilliant, and excitingly thought-provoking."--Colin Jones, Queen Mary University of London

"A superb, erudite piece of intellectual excavation. . . . Edelstein's skill as an intellectual historian lies especially in his ability to situate ideas in their broadest cultural and political setting."--New York Review of Books

About the Author

Dan Edelstein is the William H. Bonsall Professor of French and professor of history (by courtesy) at Stanford University. He is the author of The Terror of Natural Right: Republicanism, the Cult of Nature, and the French Revolution and The Enlightenment: A Genealogy, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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