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Development of Rights and Freedoms: A Historical Timeline Mr. Andrez

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1 Development of Rights and Freedoms: A Historical Timeline Mr. Andrez
CLU3M - Law Development of Rights and Freedoms: A Historical Timeline Mr. Andrez

2 Introduction What does Canada have that many countries don’t?
Civil Rights (and freedoms) - limit the power that a government has over its citizens Human Rights – protect people from being unfairly discriminated against by other individuals Canadians can feel secure in almost all areas of their lives Canadians are free because laws are passed and enforced to protect their rights and freedoms Wealth, gender, race, age, belief, family status … are not supposed to determine how you are treated in Canada – equal under the law

3 Development of Human Rights and Freedoms A Quick Rundown!
1215 – Magna Carta Limited the king’s power Only nobility received more rights, not ordinary folk! 1689 – Glorious Revolution English Bill of Rights Monarchs promised to obey the laws of Parliament and allow free elections Only nobility and wealthy landowners could vote and control parliament, not ordinary folk!

4 Rights and Revolution 17th Century
Legal and moral thinkers of the Enlightenment gave way to western philosophy, proposing: humans have natural rights (life, liberty, and security) These rights exist independently of any rights or duties created by ruler, government, Church or society Those in power (monarchs, the Church, nobility) felt threatened by these ideas which spread rapidly throughout Europe John Locke Adam Smith

5 John Locke (1632-1704) The theory that fueled Revolutions
Believed that human beings are rational, free & equal. They are capable of running their own lives. They have rights to life, health, liberty and possessions that no one should harm. To secure their rights, therefore, people give up some freedom and form government. The government’s purpose is to protect rights. It is a type of contract. “The Social Contract” The individual is superior to the government. The government is just a mechanism to help them. If government fails to protect those rights and becomes tyrannical, then the contract is null and void. The government loses its legitimacy, and people are free to make a new government. Called a “right of revolution.”

6 The American Revolution 18th Century
Thirteen American Colonies fought for independence from Great Britain British Parliament had passed laws favouring Britain and not the American colonies Colonies had no representation in British Parliament British ignored colonies’ demands and imposed new taxes Americans protested violently “no taxation without representation”

7 The American Revolution continued
1776, American Congress issued the Declaration of Independence Written by Thomas Jefferson Proclaimed the existence of a new country, the U.S.A. Britain responded by sending more troops. Fighting continued until 1783 Last British troops driven out of New York (1783) signed the Treaty of Paris (U.S.A. was officially born!) Thomas Jefferson

8 The American Revolution continued
Constitution of the U.S.A was made law in 1788. Written by wealthy powerful men Did not include a bill of rights – the powerful elite feared giving rights to ordinary folk! Feared “mob rule” (belief that ordinary folk could not be trusted to govern themselves This was heavily criticized. Contradicted the ideals of the Revolution 1791 – 10 amendments (changes) were made to the Constitution – becoming the U.S. Bill of Rights legally protected only white men Excluded American Indians, African Americans and Women

9 The American Revolution – Its Legacy
American Revolution inspired people throughout the world (France 1 year later!) It was influenced by new ideas that were sweeping through western Europe The powers of the Church and rulers were being challenged Significant revolutionary idea: The rules governing people must be changed if they failed to protect the “natural rights” of citizens

10 The French Revolution 1789 French philosophes – published papers attacking the power of the King, Church and nobility Wanted an end to feudalism Success of the American Revolution (flow of ideas, stories and people) fed the growing demand for change in France

11 The French Revolution 1789 1789 – The French people roe up and violent overthrew their rulers (monarchy, Church and nobility) Thousands were killed Privileges of feudalism and the Church were abolished A National Assembly made of elected members (like a House of Commons) was established Gave way the “Nation State” as we know it today.

12 The French Revolution 1789 (continued)
National Assembly passed the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen Guaranteed all French citizens their basic freedoms and became the basis of future modern democracies

13 The Abolition of Slavery 19th Century
For over 300 years, approximately 15 million people were captured in Africa and traded as slaves in Europe and North America Even after the revolutions of the 18th century slaves continued to be legally defined as “property” During the 19th century most western countries began to see the injustice in this system and abolished slavery

14 The Abolition of Slavery U.S.A. 19th Century
American Civil War ( ) people were killed Northern / Union forces wanted to abolish slavery Southern / Confederate forces wanted to keep it 1865, The Northern forces won, and the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery forever!

15 The Holocaust ( ) Nazi government targeted specific groups of people - Jews, the Roma (gypsies), Gays and lesbians, people with mental disabilities, members of certain religious faiths and political parties Initially stripped of their civil rights Striped of their human rights Imprisoned Executed Totaling nearly 10 million men, women and children killed

16 The United Nations, 1945 Established in the aftermath of WWII and the Holocaust Purpose: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” 1st step – to try to guarantee all people certain rights and freedom - Human Rights More specific than natural rights Established the UN Human Rights Commission To produce a list of human rights and freedoms for all people throughout the world Eleanor Roosevelt holding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

17 Universal Declaration of Human Rights - 1948
1st time nations around the world signed a formal agreement of specific rights and freedoms It is however, only a vision! Limitations of International Law? Palestine China

18 Human Rights in Canada after WW2
Much Canadian law is based in British Common Law (unwritten and based on custom and earlier court decisions) Therefore, Canadians had many rights that were not written down but simply understood to exist After the rights abuses of WW2 many Canadians believed these rights needed to be written down

19 Human Rights in Canada after WW2 Canadian Bill of Rights
PM Diefenbaker and his government passed the Canadian Bill of Rights – 1960 Set down in legislation the civil rights and freedoms that Canadians had already enjoyed under common law

20 Canadian Bill of Rights continued
Criticized: As federal (statute) it applied to only federal matters It was a Parliamentary statute meaning it could be changed by parliament at any time Did little to protect equality rights

21 Canadian Politics 1960s Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Elected PM in 1968 promising to make Canada a “Just Society” “State has no place in the bedrooms of the nation” Promised greater social justice and stronger guarantees of individual rights Served as Prime Minister for 15 yrs April 20, 1968 – June 4,1979 March 3, 1980 – June 30, 1984 Responsible for: Bilingualism – Official Languages Act, 1969 Law reforms: divorce, abortion, homosexuality, and birth control Equality rights for Aboriginal Canadians October Crisis, 1970

22 Trudeau – The Constitution Act, 1982
Constitution Act, 1982, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Constitutional Law, not Statute law Changes must be in accordance to the amendment formula Lists civil rights and freedoms for all Canadians at all levels of government Section 24 of the Charter details the “enforcement of guaranteed rights and freedoms”

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