04 December 2019

BOOK: Susan MARKS, A False Tree of Liberty Human Rights in Radical Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). ISBN 9780199675456, £60.00

(Source: OUP)

Oxford University Press is publishing a new book on the history of the idea of human rights.


This book is concerned with the history of the idea of human rights. It offers a fresh approach that puts aside familiar questions such as 'Where do human rights come from?' and 'When did human rights begin?' for the sake of looking into connections between debates about the rights of man and developments within the history of capitalism. The focus is on England, where, at the end of the eighteenth century, a heated controversy over the rights of man coincided with the final enclosure of common lands and the momentous changes associated with early industrialisation. Tracking back still further to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writing about dispossession, resistance and rights, the book reveals a forgotten tradition of thought about central issues in human rights, with profound implications for their prospects in the world today.


Susan Marks, Professor of International Law, London School of Economics and Political Science
Susan Marks is Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics. She previously taught at the University of Cambridge and King's College London. Her research is concerned with international law and human rights. She is the author of The Riddle of All Constitutions and International Human Rights Lexicon (co-written with Andrew Clapham), and edited International Law on the Left (CUP).


1: Introduction
2: Enclosure and its Critics
3: Two Early Modern Revolts
4: Rights in the English Revolution
5: The French Revolution Controversy
6: In the Shadow of Dearth
7: Improvement and the Real Rights of Man
8: Does Nature Confer Rights?
9: Trees and Liberty
10: Afterword

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