Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen


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Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen,

a fundamental document of French constitutional history, drafted by Emmanuel SieyèsSieyès, Emmanuel Joseph
, 1748–1836, French revolutionary and statesman. He was a clergyman before the Revolution and was known as Abbé Sieyès.
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, adopted by the Constituent Assembly on Aug. 26, 1789, and embodied in the French constitution of 1791 as a preamble. Its framers were much influenced by the American Declaration of Independence and by the philosophes (see EnlightenmentEnlightenment,
term applied to the mainstream of thought of 18th-century Europe and America. Background and Basic Tenets

The scientific and intellectual developments of the 17th cent.
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). The French declaration listed the "inalienable rights" of the individual (a list of duties was, after some debate, omitted by its framers). The rights to "liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression" and the rights to freedom of speech and of the press were guaranteed. The document asserted the equality of men and the sovereignty of the people, on whom the law should rest, to whom officials should be responsible, and by whom finances should be controlled. Many of its provisions were aimed at specific abuses of the ancien régime. The declaration had immense effect on liberal thought in the 19th cent.
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In the 1776 US Declaration of Independence and the 1789 French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, Hunt (modern European history, U.
President Francois Mitterrand planned the Great Arch as a human rights monument, something suitably gigantic to mark the bicentenary of the French Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Thus, in one guidebook, the Great Arch was dubbed "Fraternity Arch".
It was the French Revolution, that grotesque parody of the American founding, which first enshrined the heresy that rights are transmitted to the individual, not by God, but by the Almighty Collective or "general will." According to the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, the counterfeit of our glorious Declaration of Independence, all sovereignty (i.e., power) resides "essentially in the nation.
That the idea of human rights was common currency in the late eighteenth century is evident in the fact that the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, adopted by the French National Assembly in 1789, worked from the same basic "reflections on natural and political man." In her analysis of the French Declaration, Julia Kristeva concludes that, "basing itself on a universal human nature that the Enlightenment learned to conceive and to respect, the [French] Declaration shifts from the universal notion-'men'--to the 'political associations' that must preserve their rights, and encounters the historical reality of the 'essential political association,' which turns out to be the nation" (148).
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