Once you have read this week’s readings, please complete this eResponse by writing concise but thorough answers to all of the following questions.
You must include page numbers in each question–your score will depend on it. I do not require any specific citation format. Just include (author last name, page number) at the end of the relevant sentences. Please note that you must cite when you draw any ideas from the text, whether or not you explicitly quote it. And you must draw your ideas from the text because that is the assignment.
Please be sure that if and when you use a direct quotation from the reading, you also explain what that quotation means in your own words.
What does Waltz mean by “small states”? How does that designation relate to their power?
Waltz uses four categories to describe small states’ contributions to the human rights project. Name and describe at least two of them (number your answers 2a and 2b), providing an illustrative example for each. (Be sure to review all four for our synchronous class discussion on Monday).
What were the four castes/classes, in other words the social groupings of people, (that Knight describes) in Haiti leading up to the revolution? Next to each class, list the kinds of rights they were demanding.Universalizing Human Rights: The Role of Small States in the
Construction of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Susan Eileen Waltz
Human Rights Quarterly, Volume 23, Number 1, February 2001, pp. 44-72
Published by Johns Hopkins University Press
For additional information about this article
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HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY
Human Rights Quarterly 23 (2001) 44–72 © 2001 by The Johns Hopkins University Press
Universalizing Human Rights:
The Role of Small States in the
Construction of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights
In the fifty years that have passed since the United Nations General
Assembly approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),1
literally hundreds of books on the subject of human rights have come to fill
the shelves of major university libraries in the United States and around the
world. Human rights has claimed the attention of scholars in several
disciplines, and the notion is alternatively approached as a philosophical
idea, a legal concept, or a political project. Human rights readily finds a
home in Western political philosophy, where theories of natural rights and
social contract are well-anchored and help elaborate the modern concept of
human rights. This concept has also been discussed in comparative
philosophical frameworks.2 Human rights as a legal concept is part of the
bedrock of contemporary international law, and neither legal scholarship
* Susan Waltz is Professor of Public Policy at the Gerald School of Public Policy at the
University of Michigan. From 1993–1999, she was a member of the International Executive
Committee of Amnesty International, and from 1996–1998, she was chairperson of that
governing board. She is author of Human Rights and Reform: Changing the Face of North
African Politics (University of California Press, 1995).
1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted 10 Dec. 1948, G.A. Res. 217A (III),
U.N. GAOR, 3d Sess. (Resolutions, pt. 1), at 71, U.N. Doc. A/810 (1948), reprinted in
43 AM. J. INT’L L. 127 (Supp. 1949) [hereinafter UDHR].
2. JACK DONNELLY, UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (1989); JOHAN GALTUNG, HUMAN
RIGHTS IN A ANOTHER KEY (1994); ANN ELIZABETH MAYER, ISLAM AND HUMAN RIGHTS: TRADITION AND
POLITICS (1995); HUMAN RIGHTS IN CROSS-CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES: A QUEST FOR CONSENSUS
(Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im ed., 1991); Michael Freeman, The Philosophical Founda-
tions of Human Rights, 16 HUM. RTS. Q. 491 (1994).
2001 Universalizing Human Rights 45
nor discussion of the international implementation mechanisms (and their
flaws) is wanting. The study of international human rights as a political
project, however, has been relatively neglected. A political project refers to
concFranklin W. Knight
The Haitian Revolution and
the Notion of Human Rights
The Haitian Revolution, long neglected and occasionally
forgotten by historians, represents one of the truly noteworthy
achievements in the annals of world history. Among its many ac-
complishments was a bold, though unsuccessful, attempt to advance
universal human rights in the early nineteenth century. The measure
was bold and farsighted. Had it succeeded, one of the greatest rev-
olutions in the modern past would have fundamentally changed the
course of history and the relations between the peoples of the earth.
One of the cruel ironies of history is that so little is known or re-
membered of one of the greatest and most noble revolutions of all
time. And it is especially ironic that hardly anyone anywhere today
associates Haiti with either democracy or the exercise of human
rights. Nevertheless, Haiti played an inordinately important role in
the articulation of a version of human rights as it forged the second
independent state in modern history.
Haiti failed spectacularly as a symbol of political freedom. Yet
it established and maintained a viable state for more than a cen-
tury when state formation was a novel undertaking anywhere.
The attempt to promote human rights also largely failed because
those ideas were so far ahead of their time; even acknowledged
The Journal of The Historical Society V:3 Fall 2005 391
humanitarians of that era failed to recognize the full equality of
all persons. After all, it was not until after the Second World War
that the then newly established United Nations made the pursuit
of human rights one of its goals. The Haitian ideals failed because
Haiti not only sought political freedom but also equality for black
people in a world where the power structure was overwhelmingly
white—and whites held a rigid, hierarchical view of the world that
they refused to have challenged at that time. Although they won
their freedom, the Haitians lost the long postwar publicity campaign
along with the early struggle to make human rights an international
issue. By the middle of the twentieth century, however, the history
of white-on-white atrocities and extreme forms of genocide forced
the world to reconsider the notion of international human rights—
which has become one of the interests of the United Nations since
In order to understand the Haitian role in the development of hu-
man rights it is vitally important to examine the context of that un-
usual revolution that took place in the French colony on the western
part of the island of Hispaniola at the end of the eighteenth century.
The Haitian Revolution
The Haitian Revolution represents the most thorough case study of
revolutionary change anywhere in the history of the modern world.1
In ten years of sustained internal and international warfare a colony
populated predominantly by plantation slaves overthrew both its
colonial status and i
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