The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizens, 1789 Essay

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The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizens, 1789
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The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens was formed by the National Assembly on 27th August 1789. It was intended by the National Assembly to be the preliminary statement of principles which the constitution should be modelled. Thus allowing the nation of France to be liberated and achieve a secure structure to their society. Marquis de Lafayette, the commander of the National Guard and Thomas Paine, an English political thinker, were major contributors in the drawing up of the declaration. Lafayette made several …show more content…

This was an assertion against the Ancien Regime, where birth rights distinguished citizens; peasants had no opportunity to improve their social strata due to the high poverty and oppression. Possibly the most liberating clause out of the declaration, was the concept of popular sovereignty. It was considered that absolute power should no longer reside in the hands of the Monarch. Instead, sovereignty would rest with the nation, giving the citizens the opportunity to exercise their power.

There are some clauses that centre wholly on the enlightenment movement. To liberate a nation required certain minimal restrictions. In 1762 Rousseau had published the Social Contract. Within it Rousseau outlined that, "human beings agree to an implicit Social Contract which gave them certain rights, in return for giving up certain freedoms" (J.Hunt (1998) Pg7). This inferred that people have the right to life, in return for giving up the freedom to kill others. Release also arrived for religion. People were free to follow their chosen beliefs, signalling the end of exclusive Catholicism. Deism was being introduced. In particular, Voltaire believed that although the "universe was created by God; it was then left to operate accordingly to scientific law" (Merriman (1996) Pg407). This then paved the way for a variety of other

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