Idea godności człowieka w amerykańskiej kulturze i doktrynie prawnej
The idea of human dignity in American doctrine and legal culture
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Neither in the Constitution of the United States nor in the later enacted Bill of Rights, does the term “human dignity” occur. Therefore the thesis that was established in the early 90s of the 20th century by Ronald Dworkin and William J. Brennan Jr. may come as a surprise. Both of them – an eminent philosopher of law and a judge of the Supreme Court, recognized human dignity as a fundamental value declared by the American con- stitution and its complementary Bill of Rights. After closer recognition with American legal culture, this thesis no longer raises such controversies. Despite the fact that the Founding Fathers of the United States did not care so much about dignity as they did about other values, this idea nevertheless appeared in their publications and personal letters. Moreover, in the first Supreme Court ruling on Chisholm v. Georgia, the state, as a product of the human being and its importance, took the view that the right to human dignity was innate. Of course, the American doctrine and its legal culture have been evolving for two hundred years, changing under the influ- ence of a number of important social phenomena. As key topics for the article the following are recognized: abolitionism and the fight against slavery, the suffrage movement and the struggle for women’s rights and the civil rights movement and the fight against racial segregation. All of them undoubtedly have impacted the American idea of dignity, and they certainly have played a significant role in the changes that have occurred over the years in the United States. In European legal culture dignity similarly plays a crucial role, both in individual countries as well as at su- pranational level. Analysis of the place of dignity in American legal culture will provide material that can be compared with its European heritage.
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