Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Declaration of the Rights of Man: Revolutionary patriotism borrows familiar iconography of the Ten Commandments.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (French: Déclaration des droits de l'Homme et du citoyen) is a fundamental document of the French Revolution, defining the individual and collective rights of all the estates of the realm as universal. Influenced by the doctrine of natural rights, the rights of Man are universal: valid at all times and in every place, pertaining to human nature itself. Although it establishes fundamental rights for French citizens and all men without exception, it addresses neither the status of women nor slavery; despite that, it is a precursor document to international human rights instruments.

Contents

History

The last article of Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen was adopted 26 or 27 August, 1789[1] by the National Constituent Assembly (Assemblée nationale constituante), during the period of the French Revolution, as the first step toward writing a constitution for France. It was prepared and proposed by the marquis de Lafayette.[2] A second and lengthier declaration, known as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1793 was later adopted.

Philosophic and theoretical context

The concepts in the declaration come from the philosophical and political principles of the Age of Enlightenment, such as individualism, the social contract as theorized by the English philosopher John Locke and developed 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 heavily influenced by the political philosophy of the Enlightenment, and by Enlightenment principles of human rights, some of which it shares with the U.S. Declaration of Independence (4 July 1776).[3] Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, was at the time in France as a U.S. diplomat[4], and was in correspondence with members of the French National Constituent Assembly.

The declaration is in the spirit of what has come to be called natural law, which does not base itself on religious doctrine or authority.[5]

The declaration defines a single set of individual and collective rights for all men. Influenced by the doctrine of natural rights, these rights are held to be universal and valid in all times and places. For example, "Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good."[6] They have certain natural rights to property, to liberty and to life. According to this theory the role of government is to recognise and secure these rights. Furthermore government should be carried on by elected representatives.[7]

At the time of writing the rights contained in the declaration were only awarded to men. Furthermore, the declaration was a statement of vision rather than reality. The declaration was not deeply rooted in either the practice of the West or even France at the time. The declaration emerged in the late 18th Century out of war and revolution. It encountered opposition as democracy and individual rights were frequently regarded as synonymous with anarchy and subversion. The declaration embodies ideals and aspirations towards which France pledged to struggle in the future.[8]

Substance

The Declaration opens by affirming "the natural and imprescriptible rights of man" to "liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression". It called for the destruction of aristocratic privileges by proclaiming an end to exemptions from taxation, freedom and equal rights for all men, and access to public office based on talent. The monarchy was restricted, and all citizens were to have the right to take part in the legislative process. Freedom of speech and press were declared, and arbitrary arrests outlawed.[9]

The Declaration also asserted the principles of popular sovereignty, in contrast to the divine right of kings that characterized the French monarchy, and social equality among citizens, "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," eliminating the special rights of the nobility and clergy.

Omissions

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.

Advertisements

Women's rights

The Declaration recognized most rights as belonging only to men. This was despite the fact that after The March on Versailles on 5 October 1789, women presented the Women's Petition to the National Assembly in which they proposed a decree giving women equality.[citation needed] In 1790 Nicolas de Condorcet and Etta Palm d’Aelders unsuccessfully called on the National Assembly to extend civil and political rights to women.[10] Condorcet declared that “and he who votes against the right of another, whatever the religion, color, or sex of that other, has henceforth adjured his own”.[11] The French Revolution did not lead to a recognition of women’s rights and this prompted Olympe de Gouges to publish the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen in September 1791.[12]

The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen is modelled on the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and is ironic in formulation and exposes the failure of the French Revolution, which had been devoted to equality. It states that:

“This revolution will only take effect when all women become fully aware of their deplorable condition, and of the rights they have lost in society”.

The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen follows the seventeen articles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen point for point and has been described by Camille Naish as “almost a parody... of the original document”. The first article of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen proclaims that:

“Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be based only on common utility.”

The first article of Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen replied:

“Woman is born free and remains equal to man in rights. Social distinctions may only be based on common utility”.

De Gouges also draws attention to the fact that under French law women were fully punishable, yet denied equal rights, declaring “Women have the right to mount the scaffold, they must also have the right to mount the speaker’s rostrum”.[13]

Women were eventually given these rights with the adoption of the 1946 Constitution of the French Fourth Republic.[citation needed]

Slavery

The declaration did not revoke the institution of slavery, as lobbied for by Jacques-Pierre Brissot's Les Amis des Noirs and defended by the group of colonial planters called the Club Massiac because they met at the Hôtel Massiac.[14] Despite the lack of explicit mention of slavery in the Declaration, slave uprisings in Saint-Domingue that would later be known as the beginning of the Haitian Revolution took inspiration from its words, as discussed in C. L. R. James' history of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins.[citation needed] Deplorable conditions for the thousands of slaves in Saint-Domingue, the most profitable slave colony in the world, also led to the uprisings which would be known as the first successful slave revolt in the New World. Slavery in the French colonies was abolished by the Convention dominated by the Jacobins in 1794. However, Napoleon reinstated it in 1802. The colony of Saint-Domingue declared its independence in 1804. For more information about the Haitian Revolution and its connection to the French Revolution, see Laurent Dubois's Avengers of the New World.

Constitution of the French Fifth Republic

According to the preamble of the Constitution of the French Fifth Republic (adopted on 4 October 1958, and the current constitution), the principles set forth in the Declaration have constitutional value. Many laws and regulations have been canceled because they did not comply with those principles as interpreted by the Conseil Constitutionnel ("Constitutional Council of France") or the Conseil d'État ("Council of State").

  • 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.

Legacy

The declaration has also influenced and inspired rights-based liberal democracy throughout the world. It was translated as soon as 1793-94 by Colombian Antonio Nariño, who published it despite the Inquisition and was sentenced to be imprisoned for ten years for doing so. In 2003, the document was listed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.

Other early declarations of rights

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Some sources say 27 August because the debate was not officially closed.
  2. ^ [1] Thomas Jefferson's autobiography at Yale Law School's Avalon Project
  3. ^ 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. By comparison, few French in 1789 were vividly aware of these precedents of the American declaration.
  4. ^ http://sc94.ameslab.gov/TOUR/tjefferson.html
  5. ^ Merryman, John Henry; Rogelip Perez-Perdomo (2007). The civil law tradition: an introduction to the legal system of Europe and Latin America. Stanford University Press. pp. 16. http://books.google.com/books?id=6OJf9CbgKTkC&pg=PA16&dq=Declaration+of+the+Rights+of+Man+and+of+the+Citizen&lr=#v=onepage&q=Declaration%20of%20the%20Rights%20of%20Man%20and%20of%20the%20Citizen&f=false. 
  6. ^ First Article, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
  7. ^ Merryman, John Henry; Rogelip Perez-Perdomo (2007). The civil law tradition: an introduction to the legal system of Europe and Latin America. Stanford University Press. pp. 16. http://books.google.com/books?id=6OJf9CbgKTkC&pg=PA16&dq=Declaration+of+the+Rights+of+Man+and+of+the+Citizen&lr=#v=onepage&q=Declaration%20of%20the%20Rights%20of%20Man%20and%20of%20the%20Citizen&f=false. 
  8. ^ Lauren, Paul Gordon (2003). The evolution of international human rights: visions seen. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 32. http://books.google.com/books?id=gHRhWgbWyzMC&dq=Declaration+of+the+Rights+of+Man+and+of+the+Citizen&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s. 
  9. ^ Spielvogel, Jackson J. (2008). Western Civilization: 1300 to 1815. Wadsworth Publishing. pp. 580. ISBN 978-0495502890. http://books.google.com/books?id=0QKxEJF-zQQC&dq=Declaration+of+the+Rights+of+Man+and+of+the+Citizen&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s. 
  10. ^ Williams, Helen Maria; Neil Fraistat, Susan Sniader Lanser, David Brookshire (2001). Letters written in France. Broadview Press Ltd. p. 246. ISBN 978-1551112558. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5Ruwz82RicgC&dq=Declaration+of+the+Rights+of+Woman+and+the+Female+Citizen&source=gbs_navlinks_s. 
  11. ^ Lauren, Paul Gordon (2003). The evolution of international human rights. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 18–20. ISBN 978-0-8122-1854-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=gHRhWgbWyzMC&dq=Declaration+of+the+Rights+of+Man+and+of+the+Citizen&source=gbs_navlinks_s. 
  12. ^ Naish, Camille (1991). Death comes to the maiden: Sex and Execution, 1431-1933. Routledge. p. 136. ISBN 978-0415055857. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OHYOAAAAQAAJ&dq=Declaration+of+the+Rights+of+Woman+and+the+Female+Citizen&source=gbs_navlinks_s. 
  13. ^ Naish, Camille (1991). Death comes to the maiden: Sex and Execution, 1431-1933. Routledge. p. 137. ISBN 978-0415055857. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OHYOAAAAQAAJ&dq=Declaration+of+the+Rights+of+Woman+and+the+Female+Citizen&source=gbs_navlinks_s. 
  14. ^ The club of reactionary colonial proprietors meeting since July 1789 were opposed to representation in the Assemblée of France's overseas dominions, for fear "that this would expose delicate colonial issues to the hazards of debate in the Assembly," as Robin Blackburn expressed it (Blackburn, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, 1776-1848 [1988:174f]); see also the speech of Jean-Baptiste Belley

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

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 the human nature itself. The Declaration was adopted August 26, 1789 (some sources say August 27), by the National Constituent Assembly (Assemblée nationale constituante), as the first step toward writing a constitution. It sets forth fundamental rights not only of French citizens but acknowledges these rights to all men without exception, making it a precursor to international human rights instruments.Excerpted from Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The representatives of the French people, constituted into a National Assembly, considering that ignorance, forgetting or contempt of the rights of man are the sole causes of public misfortunes and of the corruption of governments, are resolved to expose [i.e., expound], in a solemn declaration, the natural, inalienable and sacred rights of man, so that that declaration, constantly present to all members of the social body, points out to them without cease their rights and their duties; so that the acts of the legislative power and those of the executive power, being at every instant able to be compared with the goal of any political institution, are very respectful of it; so that the complaints of the citizens, founded from now on on simple and incontestible principles, turn always to the maintenance of the Constitution and to the happiness of all.

In consequence, the National Assembly recognizes and declares, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen:

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

Article II - The goal of any political association is the conservation of the natural and imprescriptible [i.e., inviolable] rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, safety and resistance against oppression.

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.

Article IV - Liberty consists of doing anything which does not harm others: thus, 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. These borders can be determined only by the law.

Article V - The law has the right to ward [i.e., forbid] only actions [which are] harmful to the society. Any thing which is not warded [i.e., forbidden] by the law cannot be impeded, and no one can be constrained to do what it [i.e., the law] does not order.

Article VI - The law is the expression of the general will. All the citizens have the right of contributing personally or through their representatives to its formation. It must be the same for all, either that it protects, or that it punishes. All the citizens, being equal in its eyes, 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.

Article VII - No man can be accused, arrested nor detained but in the cases determined by the law, and according to the forms which it has prescribed. Those who solicit, dispatch, carry out or cause to be carried out arbitrary orders, must be punished; but any citizen called [i.e., summoned] or seized under the terms of the law must obey at the moment; he renders himself culpable by resistance.

Article VIII - The law should establish only strictly and evidently necessary penalties, and no one can be punished but under a law established and promulgated before the offense and [which is] legally applied.

Article IX - Any man being presumed innocent until he is declared culpable, if it is judged indispensible to arrest him, any rigor [i.e., action] which would not be necessary for the securing of his person must be severely reprimanded by the law.

Article X - No one may be questioned about his opinions, [and the] same [for] religious [opinions], provided that their manifestation does not trouble the public order established by the law.

Article XI - The free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen thus may speak, write, print freely, save [if it is necessary] to respond to the abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law.

Article XII - The guarantee of the rights of man and of the citizen necessitates a public force [i.e., a police force]: this force is thus instituted for the advantage of all and not for the particular utility of those to whom it is confided.

Article XIII - For the maintenance of the public force and for the expenditures of administration, a common contribution is indispensable; it must be equally distributed between all the citizens, by reason of their faculties [i.e., ability to pay].

Article XIV - Each citizen has the right of noting, by himself or through his representatives, the necessity of the public contribution, of free consent, of following the employment [of the contributions], and of determining the quotient [i.e., the share], the assessment, the recovering [i.e., the collecting] and the duration.

Article XV - The society has the right of requesting [an] account[ing] from any public agent of its [i.e., the society's] administration.

Article XVI - Any society in which the guarantee of rights is not assured, nor the separation of powers determined, has not a bit of Constitution.

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 [i.e., compensation].


Simple English

.]]

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

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 most important papers of the French Revolution. This paper explains a list of rights. All men have these rights. It also talks about some rights many people have together. This paper was written using some of the ideas of natural rights, these rights are for all men: they are supposed to be valid in all times and places. They are said to be rights of human nature. The last idea of the Declaration was accepted on 26 August 1789[1], by the National Constituent Assembly (Assemblée nationale constituante). It was a very important first thing to do before the people could write a constitution. The paper explained these basic rights, not only for French people but for all men without exception, it did not say anything about the rights or role of women. It also did not talk about slavery. People now think that it was an important step towards international human rights:

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

The ideas written in the declaration are important in French law today. They can be used to fight or change new laws or other government actions.

References

  1. Some sources say 27 August because the debate was not closed.


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message