The idea of dignity has shifted over time. Today it is at the center of our thinking about law and human rights, but there is often disagreement about its meaning. In the past, dignity was reserved for aristocrats and monarchs. During the Renaissance, many believed all of God’s creation — humans, animals and plants – had dignity. Later, some said only humans were worthy of the distinction. In modern times, dignity is cherished as a fundamental human right. The concept has been part of our national debate about civil rights, politics, and war. Diane and her guest discuss historic and modern meanings of dignity, duty, and respect.


  • Michael Rosen Professor of Government at Harvard University

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