Two major revolutions occurred during the 18th century, in the United States (1776) and in France (1789), leading to the United States Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen respectively, both of which articulated certain human rights.
Additionally, the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 encoded into law a number of fundamental civil rights and civil freedoms. The term human rights probably came into use some time between Paine's The Rights of Man and William Lloyd Garrison's 1831 writings in The Liberator, in which he stated that he was trying to enlist his readers in "the great cause of human rights".
One of the most influential was Mahatma Gandhi's movement to free his native India from British rule.
Movements by long-oppressed racial and religious minorities succeeded in many parts of the world, among them the Civil Rights Movement, and more recent movements, on behalf of women and minorities in the United States.
The establishment of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the 1864 Lieber Code and the first of the Geneva Conventions in 1864 laid the foundations of International humanitarian law, to be further developed following the two World Wars.
The World Wars, and the huge losses of life and gross abuses of human rights that took place during them, were a driving force behind the development of modern human rights instruments.
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).
According to Jack Donnelly, in the ancient world, "traditional societies typically have had elaborate systems of duties...
conceptions of justice, political legitimacy, and human flourishing that sought to realise human dignity, flourishing, or well-being entirely independent of human rights.
The modern sense of human rights can be traced to Renaissance Europe and the Protestant Reformation, alongside the disappearance of the feudal authoritarianism and religious conservativism that dominated the Middle Ages.