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The Europeanization of the World: On the Origins of Human Rights and Democracy

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Europeanization of the World puts forward a defense of Western civilization and the unique gifts it has bequeathed to the world-in particular, human rights and constitutional democracy-at a time when many around the globe equate the West with hubris and thinly veiled imperialism. John Headley argues that the Renaissance and the Reformation provided the effective currents for the development of two distinctive political ideas. The first is the idea of a common humanity, derived from antiquity, developed through natural law, and worked out in the new emerging global context to provide the basis for today's concept of universal human rights. The second is the idea of political dissent, first posited in the course of the Protestant Reformation and later maturing in the politics of the British monarchy.

Headley traces the development and implications of this first idea from antiquity to the present. He examines the English revolution of 1688 and party government in Britain and America into the early nineteenth century. And he challenges the now--common stance in historical studies of moral posturing against the West. Headley contends that these unique ideas are Western civilization's most precious export, however presently distorted. Certainly European culture has its dark side--Auschwitz is but one example. Yet as Headley shows, no other civilization in history has bequeathed so sustained a tradition of universalizing aspirations as the West. The Europeanization of the World makes an argument that is controversial but long overdue. Written by one of our preeminent scholars of the Renaissance and Reformation, this elegantly reasoned book is certain to spark a much-needed reappraisal of the Western tradition.

Synopsis:

"A wonderful book! The author dives deep into his extensive work on the Renaissance in order to explore the roots of human rights and democracy in the European heritage, and then extends his insights into the contemporary period. The scholarship and theoretical sophistication make this book a must-read for all thoughtful people, especially those concerned with political theory and globalization."--Bruce Mazlish, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"This is an important book. The argument that there is something unique about European civilization from a global perspective is highly relevant to contemporary political and cultural debate. The scholarship placing the sources of this uniqueness in the history of the European Renaissance as it encountered and conceptualized other worlds is of the first order."--Joan-Pau Rubiés, London School of Economics and Political Science

"This is a short book that addresses a very large topic. It is an exceedingly fair-minded, judicious, and learned attempt to deal with an important and controversial topic, and it treats the matter in a challenging and thought-provoking fashion. My judgment is that Professor Headley has succeeded admirably."--Paul A. Rahe, University of Tulsa

Synopsis:

The Europeanization of the World puts forward a defense of Western civilization and the unique gifts it has bequeathed to the world-in particular, human rights and constitutional democracy-at a time when many around the globe equate the West with hubris and thinly veiled imperialism. John Headley argues that the Renaissance and the Reformation provided the effective currents for the development of two distinctive political ideas. The first is the idea of a common humanity, derived from antiquity, developed through natural law, and worked out in the new emerging global context to provide the basis for today's concept of universal human rights. The second is the idea of political dissent, first posited in the course of the Protestant Reformation and later maturing in the politics of the British monarchy.

Headley traces the development and implications of this first idea from antiquity to the present. He examines the English revolution of 1688 and party government in Britain and America into the early nineteenth century. And he challenges the now--common stance in historical studies of moral posturing against the West. Headley contends that these unique ideas are Western civilization's most precious export, however presently distorted. Certainly European culture has its dark side--Auschwitz is but one example. Yet as Headley shows, no other civilization in history has bequeathed so sustained a tradition of universalizing aspirations as the West. The Europeanization of the World makes an argument that is controversial but long overdue. Written by one of our preeminent scholars of the Renaissance and Reformation, this elegantly reasoned book is certain to spark a much-needed reappraisal of the Western tradition.

About the Author

John M. Headley is professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His books include "Tommaso Campanella and the Transformation of the World" (Princeton).

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi
Preface xiii
Introduction 1

Chapter 1: The Renaissance Defining and Engagement of the Global Arena of Humanity 9
Imperial and Global Motifs in the Advent of the New Geography 13
The Fully Habitable World for Renaissance Europe 31

Chapter 2: The Universalizing Principle and the Idea of a Common Humanity 63
The Universalizing Process: From Christendom to the Civilization of Europeans 66
The Career of Natural Rights in the Early Modern Period 103

Chapter 3: The Emergence of Politically Constituted Dissent in the European World 149
The Initial Constituting of Political Dissent: Thomas More's Horrific Vision 154
Party and Opposition in the Eighteenth-Century Anglo-American Experience 168

Aftermath 195
Epilogue 207
Notes 219
Bibliography 243
Index 269

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691133126
Author:
Headley, John
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Headley, John M.
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Europe - General
Subject:
Government - State & Provincial
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Human Rights
Subject:
Democracy
Subject:
Human Rights
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Democracy
Subject:
European History
Subject:
World History/Comparative History
Subject:
Political philosophy
Subject:
World History-European History General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
November 2007
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 halftones.
Pages:
312
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in 17 oz

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The Europeanization of the World: On the Origins of Human Rights and Democracy New Hardcover
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Product details 312 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691133126 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "A wonderful book! The author dives deep into his extensive work on the Renaissance in order to explore the roots of human rights and democracy in the European heritage, and then extends his insights into the contemporary period. The scholarship and theoretical sophistication make this book a must-read for all thoughtful people, especially those concerned with political theory and globalization."--Bruce Mazlish, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"This is an important book. The argument that there is something unique about European civilization from a global perspective is highly relevant to contemporary political and cultural debate. The scholarship placing the sources of this uniqueness in the history of the European Renaissance as it encountered and conceptualized other worlds is of the first order."--Joan-Pau Rubiés, London School of Economics and Political Science

"This is a short book that addresses a very large topic. It is an exceedingly fair-minded, judicious, and learned attempt to deal with an important and controversial topic, and it treats the matter in a challenging and thought-provoking fashion. My judgment is that Professor Headley has succeeded admirably."--Paul A. Rahe, University of Tulsa

"Synopsis" by , The Europeanization of the World puts forward a defense of Western civilization and the unique gifts it has bequeathed to the world-in particular, human rights and constitutional democracy-at a time when many around the globe equate the West with hubris and thinly veiled imperialism. John Headley argues that the Renaissance and the Reformation provided the effective currents for the development of two distinctive political ideas. The first is the idea of a common humanity, derived from antiquity, developed through natural law, and worked out in the new emerging global context to provide the basis for today's concept of universal human rights. The second is the idea of political dissent, first posited in the course of the Protestant Reformation and later maturing in the politics of the British monarchy.

Headley traces the development and implications of this first idea from antiquity to the present. He examines the English revolution of 1688 and party government in Britain and America into the early nineteenth century. And he challenges the now--common stance in historical studies of moral posturing against the West. Headley contends that these unique ideas are Western civilization's most precious export, however presently distorted. Certainly European culture has its dark side--Auschwitz is but one example. Yet as Headley shows, no other civilization in history has bequeathed so sustained a tradition of universalizing aspirations as the West. The Europeanization of the World makes an argument that is controversial but long overdue. Written by one of our preeminent scholars of the Renaissance and Reformation, this elegantly reasoned book is certain to spark a much-needed reappraisal of the Western tradition.

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