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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Although the term had been used by at least one author as early as 1742.These were followed by developments in philosophy of human rights by philosophers such as Thomas Paine, John Stuart Mill and G. A number of reformers, notably British Member of Parliament William Wilberforce, worked towards the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade and abolition of slavery.These institutions and practices are alternative to, rather than different formulations of, human rights".The history of human rights can be traced to past documents, particularly Constitution of Medina (622), Al-Risalah al-Huquq (late 7th to early 8th century), Magna Carta (1215), the German Peasants' War Twelve Articles (1525), the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), and the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution (1791).This was achieved across the British Empire by the Slave Trade Act 1807, which was enforced internationally by the Royal Navy under treaties Britain negotiated with other nations, and the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.In the United States, all the northern states had abolished the institution of slavery between 17, although southern states clung tightly to the "peculiar institution".In particular, the issue of universal rights was introduced by the examination of extending rights to indigenous peoples by Spanish clerics, such as Francisco de Vitoria and Bartolomé de Las Casas.
During the reconstruction period immediately following the war, several amendments to the United States Constitution were made.
Many groups and movements have achieved profound social changes over the course of the 20th century in the name of human rights.