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the French Revolution for lovers, students and teachers of history - the National Assembly and the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis …

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Timeline of the American Revolutionary War - US History
The English laws that establish the rights of subjects are collectively and individually confirmations, arising out of special conditions, or interpretations of existing law. Even Magna Charta contains no new right, as Sir Edward Coke, the great authority on English law, perceived as early as the beginning of the seventeenth century. The English statutes are far removed from any purpose to recognize general rights of man, and they have neither the power nor the intention to restrict the legislative agents or to establish principles for future legislation. According to English law Parliament is omnipotent and all statutes enacted or confirmed by it are of equal value.

Marquis de Lafayette - Military Leader - Biography

The Declaration was directly influenced by Thomas Jefferson, working with General Lafayette, who introduced it. [2] Influenced also by the doctrine of "natural right", the rights of man are held to be universal: valid at all times and in every place, pertaining to human nature itself.
Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good"

First Article in the Declaration
Fun Facts
There was a Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1793 written; however, it is not the same.
It is included in the preamble of the constitutions of both the Fourth French Republic (1946) and Fifth Republic (1958) and is still current.


True Copy of the Declaration of Independence

Just six weeks after the storming of the Bastille, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was adopted by the National Constituent Assembly as the first step toward writing a constitution for the Republic of France.
When and by Whom?
The National Assembly of France and Marquis de La Fayette drafted this declaration on August 26, 1789
Conditions and the People
The people believed that the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man are the cause of the public problems and of the corruption of governments.

Less regarded than its historical and political significance is the importance of this document in the history of law, an importance which continues even to the present day. Whatever may be the value or worthlessness of its general phrases, it is under the influence of this document that the conception of the public rights of the individual has developed in the positive law of the states of the European continent. Until it appeared public law literature recognized the rights of heads of states, the privileges of class, and the privileges of individuals or special corporations, but the general rights of subjects were to be found essentially only in the form of duties on the part of the state, not in the form of definite legal claims of the individual. The Declaration of the Rights of Man for the first time originated in all its vigor in positive law the conception, which until then had been known only to natural law, of the personal rights of the members of the state over against the state as a whole. This was next seen in the first French constitution of September 3, 1791, which set forth, upon the basis of a preceding declaration of rights, a list of as rights that were guaranteed by the constitution. Together with the right of suffrage, the ““, which were enumerated for the last time in the constitution of November 4, 1848, form to-day the basis of French theory and practice respecting the personal public rights of the individual. And under the influence of the French declaration there have been introduced into almost all of the constitutions of the other Continental states similar enumerations of rights, whose separate phrases and formulas, however, are more or less adapted to the particular conditions of their respective states, and therefore frequently exhibit wide differences in content.

From Colonies to Revolution - Teacher Oz

The declarations of Virginia and of the other individual American states were the sources of Lafayette’s proposition. They influenced not only Lafayette, but all who sought to bring about a declaration of rights. Even the above-mentioned were affected by them.

Discovery, Exploration, Colonies, & Revolution

This conjecture becomes a certainty through Lafayette’s own statement. In a place in his , that has as yet been completely overlooked, Lafayette mentions the model that he had in mind when making his motion in the Constituent Assembly. He very pertinently points out that the Congress of the newly formed Confederation of North American free states was then in no position to set up, for the separate colonies, which had already become sovereign states, rules of right which would have binding force. He brings out the fact that in the Declaration of Independence there are asserted only the principles of the sovereignty of the people and the right to change the form of government. Other rights are included solely by implication from the enumeration of the violations of right, which justified the separation from the mother country.


Of the other states Virginia was the first to enact a constitution in the convention which met at Williamsburg from May 6 to June 29, 1776. It was prefaced with a formal “bill of rights”, which had been adopted by the convention on the twelfth of June. The author of this document was George Mason, although Madison exercised a decided influence upon the form that was finally adopted. This declaration of Virginia’s served as a pattern for all the others, even for that of the Congress of the United States, which was issued three weeks later, and, as is well known, was drawn up by Jefferson, a citizen of Virginia. In the other declarations there were many stipulations formulated somewhat differently, and also many new particulars were added.