Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Wherever human beings have experienced a common life together under government, they have made claims upon and against one another, as well as upon and against the government that claims authority over them. When doing so, they have relied on particular political vocabularies or languages in which to express those claims. Sometimes the words in their vocabulary are new, invented in the course of political thinking and activity. Sometimes they are drawn from existing political or legal vocabularies or taken over from ordinary language and put to new use. So it was with the language of natural rights, which emerged in Europe in the medieval period and was employed by a succession of thinkers and writers down to the eighteenth century and beyond. The exponents of natural rights language drew upon the languages of Roman law and canon law in developing a vocabulary to express claims to those things to ...