Declaration of the rights of man and citizen is considered as one of the texts
fundamentals most voted by the National Assembly constituent formed after the
meeting of the state’s general. After many long debates about this document,
the deputy decided to vote the final text dated August 26, 1789. It is
composing of a preamble and 17 articles that concern the individual and the nation.
It defines the naturals rights and imprescriptible, like liberty, property,
security, and resistance to oppression. The declaration recognizes also
equality, especially in front of the law and justice. It finally asserts the
principle of the separation of powers.
Along with this research paper, I will walk you through more description
of the declaration of independence.
Ratified only October 5th by Louis XVI under the
impression of the assembly and the people rushed at Versailles, it serves as a
preamble to the first constitution of the French revolution, adopted in 1791.
The 1789 Declaration inspired similar texts in many countries of Europe and
Latin America in the nineteenth century. The French revolutionary tradition is
also present in the European convention on human rights signed in Rome on
November 1950. Representatives of the French people considering that the
ignorance, the oblivion or the contempt of the rights of man are the only
causes of the public misfortunes.
Declaration abolished the thousand-year-old charisma of monarchy by demoting
the king to the merely executive of the people’s will. It was no longer God’s
choice to dominate and a representative of the divine. Alternately, the king
was a head who had failed his people. Therefore, the people’s revolt was
justified since resistance to tyranny is a natural right of men.
purpose of the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen is mainly to
put forward the ideas of the lights represented by the French revolution. It
emphasizes equality as the basic principle of a new society that is no longer
based on orders (clerks, nobilities, third-states). It was created to promote
equal opportunity for all, regardless of gender, race, religion, etc. As we can
clearly see, its purpose is to eliminate discrimination against people and to
bring about equality.
ideas of this document flow from each other and are hierarchical. In
particular, it should be noted that:
Rights are defined in the article that defines the Society for the logical
reason that out of society, there is no right. Freedom, property, safety, and
resistance to oppression only occur in the presence of a plurality of people and
the right is related to society. The Act is not defined as
“the expression of the general will”, contrary to what is often said.
This is only the third article relating to the Act, which only states how it
was adopted; it is only a formal quality, when the substantial qualities are
stated in the two previous articles. The public force has no other function
than to enforce the law, that is to say to enforce freedom, property, safety,
resistance to oppression. The freedoms of opinion, expression and the press are
expressed separately, as is often said, as a sort of complementary list of individual
rights, but on the contrary because the drafters of the DDHC (Declaration des Droits de l’Homme et du
Citoyen) have had the intelligence to understand that they are not freedoms
of the same nature. Two centuries before Hans-Hermann Hoppe, the French
revolutionaries understood that these two public liberties were very different
from the fundamental freedoms of Article 2, and obliged to respect these higher
freedoms. Believing that these public freedoms are specifically defended and
with a preference on the right of ownership is a major misinterpretation. The
idea that an owner can deny freedom of expression on his property is actually
defended by the DDHC, for which the freedoms of expression and opinion are
minor and secondary freedoms, as opposed to the major and primordial freedoms
what is liberty, property, safety, resistance to oppression.
these points are generally the object of absolute contraries, and this because
of a distorted reading of the text. The DDHC, insist on this point, is a legal
text. It should not be read as the Koran whose last verses repeal the oldest.
Any new article must be read as subordinate to the previous ones. And to fully
understand the spirit of the DDHC, it is useful to understand, following this
hierarchical reading of articles, the exact meaning of each word used.
the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen is not simply inspired by the
theories of the social contract, it is the Social Contract drafted by the
revolutionaries. At no time is there a state in the DDHC, only political
association and society of free men. The DDHC is the statutes of this political
association. As such, it is a primordial text, whose meaning of the great words
that it uses: Society, Natural Rights, Law, Citizen, Constitution cannot be
sought elsewhere than in the text itself, which defines them, their gives an