Hidden in Plain Sight: The Tragedy of Children's Rights from Ben Franklin to Lionel Tate

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Princeton University Press, Jan 25, 2010 - Law - 384 pages
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Hidden in Plain Sight tells the tragic untold story of children's rights in America. It asks why the United States today, alone among nations, rejects the most universally embraced human-rights document in history, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This book is a call to arms for America to again be a leader in human rights, and to join the rest of the civilized world in recognizing that the thirst for justice is not for adults alone.

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse explores the meaning of children's rights throughout American history, interweaving the childhood stories of iconic figures such as Benjamin Franklin with those of children less known but no less courageous, like the heroic youngsters who marched for civil rights. How did America become a place where twelve-year-old Lionel Tate could be sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 1999 death of a young playmate? In answering questions like this, Woodhouse challenges those who misguidedly believe that America's children already have more rights than they need, or that children's rights pose a threat to parental autonomy or family values. She reveals why fundamental human rights and principles of dignity, equality, privacy, protection, and voice are essential to a child's journey into adulthood, and why understanding rights for children leads to a better understanding of human rights for all.

Compassionate, wise, and deeply moving, Hidden in Plain Sight will force an examination of our national resistance--and moral responsibility--to recognize children's rights.

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Contents

Aint I a Person?
1
CHAPTER 1 How to Think about Childhood
15
CHAPTER 2 How to Think about Childrens Rights
29
Stories of Bondage and Belonging
49
Stories of Voice and Participation
109
Stories of Equal Opportunity
157
Stories of Resistance and Resilience
211
Stories of Guilt and Innocence
257
The Future of Rights
304
Notes
315
Bibliography
337
Index
349
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