The foundations of human rights are a contested subject, including who influenced them and what they are. The historiography may be divided into two sides: the continuous history group and the recent origins group. The former consists of scholars who find that human rights began in much earlier time periods and evolved into today’s human rights regime. However, the latest trend is to argue against a progressive history. Samuel Moyn most popularly represents it in his books: The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History and Human Rights and the Uses of History. He claims that today’s human rights ideology arrived on the world stage de novo in 1977 with President Jimmy Carter’s inaugural address. This article demonstrates four weaknesses in Moyn’s findings calling into question the revisionist history.


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pp. 411-425
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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