Declarations of the Rights of Man

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Of the numerous documents that helped to influence the French Revolution, the Declaration of the Rights of Man provoked the Revolution in that it introduced the idea of separation of powers, liberalism, and citizen responsibility.

On August 26, 1789, the National Assembly finalized the Declaration of the Rights of Man which presented the concept of a Constitutional Monarchy where the king did not have absolute authority, and was to be held accountable by other branches of government such as the Legislative and Judicial. A Constitutional Monarchy was a radical idea to the French people because the only governments in France had historically either been a monarchy or a totalitarian structure of government. In the Declaration of the Rights of Man, it is made quite clear that, “The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.”# The French citizens were to interpret this article as, no one man could run a country without accountability because the king needed others to make sure his intensions were to benefit his citizens. Although this concept caught the attention of the French citizens, Louis XVI conform to this restriction and continued to practice government as defined by a monarchy.#

Liberalism was key in the progression the French Revolution in that at its very root, it mean a freedom or broad sense of ideas. “Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no on else; hence the exercise of the natural right of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same tights. These can only be determined by law.”# The authors of the document were trying to show the citizens, more importantly of Paris, that...
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