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Encyclopedia > Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen: Revolutionary patriotism borrows familiar iconography of the Ten Commandments
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen: Revolutionary patriotism borrows familiar iconography of the Ten Commandments
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (French: La Déclaration des droits de l'Homme et du citoyen) is one of the fundamental documents of the French Revolution, defining a set of individual rights and collective rights of all of the estates as one. Influenced by the doctrine of natural rights, these rights are universal: they are supposed to be valid in all times and places, pertaining to human nature itself. The last article of the Declaration was adopted August 26, 1789.[1], by the National Constituent Assembly (Assemblée nationale constituante), as the first step toward writing a constitution. While it set forth fundamental rights, not only for French citizens but for all men without exception, it did not make any statement about the status of women, nor did it explicitly address slavery. It is, however, considered to be a precursor to international human rights instruments: Download high resolution version (476x604, 46 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (476x604, 46 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... This 1768 parchment (612x502 mm) by Jekuthiel Sofer emulated the 1675 Decalogue at Amsterdam Esnoga synagogue. ... Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... The French Revolution(1789-1799) was a period of major political and social change in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... In philosophy, a proposition is said to have universality if it can be conceived as being true in all possible contexts without creating a contradiction. ... See also : Human nature (disambiguation) Human nature is the fundamental nature and substance of humans, as well as the range of human behavior that is believed to be invariant over long periods of time and across very different cultural contexts. ... August 26 is the 238th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (239th in leap years). ... 1789 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... The National Constituent Assembly (French: Assemblée nationale constituante) was formed from the National Assembly on July 9, 1789, during the first stages of the French Revolution. ... International human rights instruments can be classified into two categories: declarations, adopted by bodies such as the United Nations General Assembly, which are not legally binding although they may be politically so; and conventions, which are legally binding instruments concluded under international law. ...

"First Article – Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be founded only on the common utility."

The principles set forth in the declaration are of constitutional value in present-day French law and may be used to oppose legislation or other government activities.


Adoption of the declaration

Among the drafters of the declaration was the Marquis de Lafayette; it was intended as part of a transition from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy. Many of the principles laid down in the declaration directly oppose the institutions and usages of the ancien régime of pre-revolutionary France. France soon became a republic, but this document remained fundamental. Marie-Joseph-Paul-Roch-Yves-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette (September 6, 1757 – May 20, 1834), was a French aristocrat most famous for his participation in the American Revolutionary War and early French Revolution. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Ancien Régime, a French term meaning Former Regime, but rendered in English as Old Rule, Old Order, or simply Old Regime, refers primarily to the aristocratic social and political system established in France under the Valois and Bourbon dynasties. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      For other uses, see Republic (disambiguation). ...

Set forth in the declaration come from the philosophical and political principles of the Age of Enlightenment, such as individualism, the social contract as theorised by the English Thomas Hobbes and adopted to the French by Jean Jacques Rousseau, and the separation of powers espoused by the baron de Montesquieu. As can be seen in the texts, the French declaration is partly inspired by the declarations of human rights contained in the U.S. Declaration of Independence (4 July 1776) of which the delegates were fully aware[2] The Age of Enlightenment (French: Siècle des Lumières, German: Aufklärung) refers to the eighteenth century in European and American philosophy, or the longer period including the Age of Reason. ... Individualism is a term used to describe a moral, political, or social outlook that stresses human independence and the importance of individual self-reliance and liberty. ... The term social contract describes a broad class of philosophical theories whose subject is the implied agreements by which people form nations and maintain social order. ... “Hobbes” redirects here. ... Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 - July 2, 1778) was a Swiss-French philosopher, writer, political theorist, and self-taught composer of The Age of Enlightenment Biography of Rousseau The tomb of Rousseau in the crypt of the Panthéon, Paris Rousseau was born in Geneva, Switzerland... It has been suggested that Balance of powers be merged into this article or section. ... Montesquieu in 1728. ... U.S. Declaration of Independence The Declaration of Independence is a document in which the Thirteen Colonies declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so. ... For the United States holiday, the Fourth of July, see Independence Day (United States). ... Year 1776 (MDCCLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Thursday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ...

==Substance of the declaration==poop This statement of principles contained the kernel of a much more radical re-ordering of society than had yet taken place. A mere six weeks after the storming of the Bastille and barely three weeks after the abolition of feudalism, the Declaration put forward a doctrine of popular sovereignty and equal opportunity: Combatants French government Parisian militia (predecessor of Frances National Guard) Commanders Bernard-René de Launay† Prince de Lambesc Camille Desmoulins Strength 114 soldiers, 30 artillery pieces 600 - 1,000 insurgents Casualties 1 (6 or possibly 8 killed after surrender) 98 The Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789... The French Revolution was a period in the history of France covering the years 1789 to 1799, in which republicans overthrew the Bourbon monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church perforce underwent radical restructuring. ... Poplar sovereignty is the doctrine that the state is created by and subject to the will of the people, who are the source of all political power. ... Equal opportunity is a descriptive term for an approach intended to provide a certain social environment in which ensure people are not excluded from the activities of society, such as education, employment, or health care, on the basis of immutable traits. ...

"(From Article III) – The principle of any sovereignty resides essentially in the Nation. No body, no individual can exert authority which does not emanate expressly from it."

This contrasts with the pre-revolutionary situation in France, where the political doctrine of the monarchy found the source of law in the divine right of kings. Sovereignty is the exclusive right to exercise supreme political (e. ... The Divine Right of Kings is a European political and religious doctrine of political absolutism. ...

(From Article VI) – "All the citizens, being equal in [the eyes of the law], are equally admissible to all public dignities, places, and employments, according to their capacity and without distinction other than that of their virtues and of their talents."

Again, this strikingly contrasts with the pre-revolutionary division of French society in three estates (the clergy, the aristocracy, and the rest of the populace, known as the Third Estate), where the first two estates had special rights. Specifically, it contradicts the idea of people being born into a nobility or other special class of the population, and enjoying (or being deprived of) special rights for this reason. The Estates-General (or States-General) of 1789 (French: Les États-Généraux de 1789) was the first meeting since 1614 of the French Estates-General, a general assembly consisting of representatives from all but the poorest segment of the French citizenry. ... Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. ... The Ancient Greek term aristocracy originally meant a system of government with rule by the best. The word is derived from two words, aristos meaning the best and kratein to rule. Aristocracies have most often been hereditary plutocracies (see below), where a sense of historical gravitas and noblesse oblige demands... In France of the ancien régime and the age of the French Revolution, the term Third Estate (tiers état) indicated the generality of people which were not part of the clergy (the First Estate) nor of the nobility (the Second Estate). ...

All citizens are to be guaranteed the rights of "liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression". The Declaration argues that the need for law derives from the fact that "...the exercise of the natural rights of each man has only those borders which assure other members of the society the enjoyment of these same rights". Thus, the declaration sees law as an "expression of the general will", intended to promote this equality of rights and to forbid "only actions harmful to the society". The general will, first enunciated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is a concept in political philosophy referring to the desire or interest of a people as a whole. ...

The Declaration also put forward several provisions similar to those in the United States Constitution (1787) and the United States Bill of Rights (1789, adopted at approximately the same time as the Declaration). Like the U.S. Constitution, it discusses the need to provide for the common defense and states some broad principles of taxation, especially equality before taxation (a striking difference from the pre-revolutionary era, when the Church and the nobility were exempted from most taxes). It also specifies a public right to an accounting from public agents as to how they have discharged the public trust. Wikisource has original text related to this article: Constitution of the United States of America Page one of the original copy of the Constitution. ... Image of the United States Bill of Rights from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration The United States Bill of Rights consists of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. ... Accountability is a concept in ethics with several meanings. ...

The declaration prohibits ex post facto application of criminal law and proclaims the presumption of innocence, prohibiting undue duress to the suspect. In pre-revolutionary France, while technically one was considered guilty only after having been sentenced by the appropriate authorities, the royal courts, known as parlements, made ample use of torture to extract confessions, and gave few rights to the defense — ergo, it would have been very likely that one would have been convicted and sentenced, if one had been suspected. An ex post facto law (Latin for from a thing done afterward), also known as a retrospective law, is a law that is retroactive, i. ... Presumption of innocence is a legal right that the accused in criminal trials has in many modern nations. ... Parlements (pronounced in French) in ancien régime France — contrary to what their name would suggest to the modern reader — were not democratic or political institutions, but law courts . ... Torture is defined by the United Nations Convention Against Torture as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he...

It provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and a slightly weaker guarantee of freedom of religion — "provided that [...the] manifestation [...of their religious opinions] does not trouble the public order established by the law". It asserts the rights of property, while reserving a public right of eminent domain: This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Freedom of the press (or press freedom) is the guarantee by a government of free public press for its citizens and their associations, extended to members of news gathering organizations, and their published reporting. ... The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen guarantees freedom of religion, as long as religious activities do not infringe on public order in ways detrimental to society. ... Eminent domain (U.S.), compulsory purchase (United Kingdom, New Zealand, Ireland), resumption (Australia) or expropriation (Canada, South Africa) in common law legal systems is the inherent power of the state to expropriate private property, or rights in private property, without the owners consent, either for its own use or...

"(From Article XVII) - Property being an inviolable and sacred right, no one can be deprived of private usage, if it is not when the public necessity, legally noted, evidently requires it, and under the condition of a just and prior indemnity [that is, compensation]."

The Declaration is largely individualistic, not addressing freedom of assembly, liberty of association, or the right to strike. These principles did acquire a constitutional value, from the provisions of the Constitution of the French Fourth Republic, under which, unlike at the time of the Revolution, they were understood to extend to women and blacks. Individualism is a political and social philosophy that emphasizes individual liberty, belief in the primary importance of the individual and in the virtues of self-reliance and personal independence. ... Group of women holding placards with political activist slogans: know your courts - study your politicians, Liberty in law, Law makers must not be law breakers, and character in candidates photo 1920 Freedom of assembly is the freedom to associate with, or organize any groups, gatherings, clubs, or organizations that one... Freedom of association is a Constitutional (legal) concept based on the premise that it is the right of free adults to mutually choose their associates for whatever purpose they see fit. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...

Those left out of the Declaration

The Declaration, as originally understood, recognized most rights as only belonging to males and did not give rights to women or abolish slavery. The shield and spear of the Roman God Mars are often used to represent the male sex In heterogamous species, male is the sex of an organism, or of a part of an organism, which typically produces smaller, mobile gametes (spermatozoa) that are able to fertilise female gametes (ova). ...

Sometime after The March on Versailles on October 5, 1789, the women of France presented the Women's Petition to the National Assembly in which they proposed a decree giving women equality. The Declaration's failure to include women was also objected to by Olympe de Gouges in her 1791 Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen. Women were finally given these rights with the adoption of the 1946 Constitution of the French Fourth Republic. The Womens March to Versailles was an event in the French Revolution. ... October 5 is the 278th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (279th in leap years). ... 1789 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... This petition was produced during the French Revolution and presented to the French National Assembly in November 1789 after The Womens March on Versailles on October 5, 1789, proposing a decree by the National Assembly to give women equality. ... Olympe de Gouges (born Marie Gouze; May 7, 1748 – November 3, 1793) was a playwright and journalist whose feminist writings reached a large audience. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...

Similarly, despite the lack of explicit mention of slavery in the Declaration, the slave revolt on Saint-Domingue that became the Haitian Revolution took inspiration from its words, as discussed in C.L.R. James' history of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins. Saint-Domingue was a French colony from 1697 to 1804 that is today the independent nation of Haiti. ... Combatants Haiti France Commanders Toussaint LOuverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines Charles Leclerc, vicomte de Rochambeau, Napoleon Bonaparte Strength Regular army: <55,000, Volunteers: <100,000 Regular army: 60,000, 86 warships and frigates Casualties Military deaths: unknown, Civilian deaths: <100,000 Out of the 60,000 men sent betweeen Feb. ... Cyril Lionel Robert James (4 January 1901&#8211;19 May 1989) was a journalist, and a prominent socialist theorist and writer. ... The Black Jacobins is a historical account of the Haitian (San Domingo) Revolution of 1791-1803 written by Jamaican writer and historian C.L.R. James. ...

Effect today

According to the preamble of the Constitution of the French Fifth Republic (adopted on October 4, 1958, and the current constitution as of 2005), the principles set forth in the Declaration have constitutional value. Many laws and regulations have been cancelled because they did not comply with those principles as interpreted by the Constitutional Council of France or the Conseil d'État ("Council of State"). Look up Preamble in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The current Constitution of France was adopted on October 4, 1958, and has been amended 17 times, most recently on March 28, 2003. ... October 4 is the 277th day of the year (278th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Year 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 2005 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A republican guard giving directions to visitors at the front entrance of the Constitutional Council The Constitutional Council (Conseil Constitutionnel) was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958. ... In France, the Conseil dÉtat (English: Council of State and sometimes Counsel of State) is an organ of the French national government. ...

Many of the principles in the 1789 declaration have far-reaching implications nowadays:

  • Taxation legislation or practices that seem to make some unwarranted difference between citizens are struck down as anticonstitutional.
  • Suggestions of positive discrimination on ethnic grounds are rejected because they infringe on the principle of equality, since they would establish categories of people that would, by birth, enjoy greater rights.

The declaration has also influenced and inspired rights-based liberal democracy throughout the world. Affirmative action (US English), or positive discrimination (British English), is a policy or a program providing advantages for people of a minority group who are seen to have traditionally been discriminated against. ... A right is the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled or a thing to which one has a just claim. ... Liberal democracy is a form of government. ...

See also

Moral universalism is a moral view, often related to humanist philosophy, which claims that the fundamental basis for a universalist ethic—universally applicable to all humanity—can be derived or inferred from what is common among existing moral codes. ... Politics of France takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of France is head of state and the Prime Minister of France head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. ... Natural law or the law of nature (Latin lex naturalis) is a law whose content is set by nature, and that therefore has validity everywhere. ... Natural rights is a philosophical hition of universal rights that are seen as inherent in the nature of people and not contingent on human actions or beliefs. ... In philosophy, a proposition is said to have universality if it can be conceived as being true in all possible contexts without creating a contradiction. ...

Compare to other bills of rights

The Bill of Rights 1689 is an Act of the Parliament of England (1 Will. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Claim of Right The Claim of Right is an Act passed by the Parliament of Scotland in April 1689. ... Image of the United States Bill of Rights from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration The United States Bill of Rights consists of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. ... Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ... The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, also known as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), was adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe[1] in 1950 to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. ... The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is a document containing human rights provisions, solemnly proclaimed by the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission in December 2000. ... The Charter, signed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1981. ...


  1. ^ Some sources say August 27 because the debate was not officialy closed.
  2. ^ The American Declaration was in part based on the Virginia Declaration of Rights developed by George Mason in June 1776, themselves based on the 1689 English Bill of Rights, published a full century before the French version. Few French were vividly aware of these precedents.

August 27 is the 239th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (240th in leap years), with 126 days remaining. ... The Virginia Declaration of Rights is a declaration by the Virginia Convention of Delegates of rights of individuals and a call for independence from Britain. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The Bill of Rights 1689 is an Act of the Parliament of England (1 Will. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1054 words)
The 1789 Declaration of the rights of man and the citizen was inspired by the American Declaration of Independence of 1776.
The Declaration of the rights of man and the citizen, along with the decrees of August 4 and 11, 1789 abolishing feudal rights, was one of the fundamental texts adopted by the Constituent Assembly formed in the wake of the meeting of the Estates General.
Article 12 - To guarantee the Rights of Man and of the Citizen a public force is necessary; this force is therefore established for the benefit of all, and not for the particular use of those to whom it is entrusted.
"Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen" (August 1789) (688 words)
Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (August 1789)
The guarantee of the rights of man and citizen requires a public force; this force then is instituted for the advantage of all and not for the personal benefit of those to whom it is entrusted.
All the citizens have a right to ascertain, by themselves or by their representatives, the necessity of the public tax, to consent to it freely, to follow the employment of it, and to determine the quota, the assessment, the collection, and the duration of it.
  More results at FactBites »



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