The Universality of Human Rights : Appearances and Realities – Human Rights Ideology in France and in the United States

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The ideology of human rights is often presented as founded on universal principles, and it’s terrain is largely occupied by the United States and France who equally present themselves as the cradle of its genesis. In this regard, the legal systems of these two countries have certain points in common, notably the existence of a declaration of rights written in the 18th century, and largely founded on the concept of natural law. However, the existence of such similarities does not hide the profound differences between these two systems which have only been accentuated in time. The notions of liberty of expression, the right to bear arms and the death penalty allow us to measure the amplitude of these divergences, and lead us to doubt the existence of a true occidental model in this domain. – Summary AFRI-2001