Historical Declarations in French and in the United State of America Essay Sample

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            The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen is a French political document that was designed purposely to define individual human rights and collective rights and it was directed to all the estates under the French revolution. The designing of the doctrine was adapted from the doctrine of natural rights where natural rights are perceived as being universal, that is applicable in all places in the world and also in all times , and they are based on the nature of human beings. The doctrine gave a foundation for the drafting of the French constitution and the last article on this doctrine was adapted  on 26th August 1789. It contained the human fundamental rights and not basically only on the French citizens but also on all men, without excluding non although it did not say anything about the women in society and the issue of slavery. The human rights defined in the doctrine are based on the premise that men were born free and they should remain free, and they are also equal in rights. The social differences are only tolerated only if its for the general good (Paine, 1999).

            The doctrine is so fundamental in the French in that even the current constitution if based on it and for any alterations or contradictions on the current constitution,they have to consult the doctrine. It had the  impact of transforming the French government from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. During the absolute monarchy kind of government, the monarchy had powers to govern the land limitlessly using some laws, where religion authority was expected to give guide to the monarchy on some other governing issues that required public opinion. The religion also had the role of discouraging or encouraging  the monarchy on some acts, and the monarchy was expected to act according to the set customs. There was no constitution during the governance by absolute monarchy or any kind of set of laws  that were above his directives. After the adoption of the doctrine  a constitutional monarchy was in place, and in this case the  monarchy  was to be elected and expected to act as the head of the state. The monarchy’s actions were limited to the powers that he was  offered by the constitution as the head of state, therefore his directives were not above the powers of the constitution and he was expected to respect and protect the French constitution (http://www.constitution.org/fr/fr_drm.htm ).

            The ideology of the declaration emanated from the philosophies and the political principles of the age of enlightenment, where the age of enlightenment means the times of the eighteenth century during the movement of the western philosophers who engaged much in the look on human suffering and the required changes to make their state better. The philosophers of the time included John Locke with his theory of individualism and Jean Jacques with his theory of Social contract and Baron de Montesquieu with his theory of separation of powers.

            The declaration also borrowed ideas from the United states of America Declaration of independence which was enacted in 1776. The influence of borrowing  ideas from the US declaration of Independence arose from the sole influence of Thomas Jefferson who was the United State ambassador during the drafting of the French declaration of Rights of Man and citizens, as he was working closely with the by then the French national Constituent Assembly.

            Before the adaption the doctrine the French population was divided into three states including the clergy, the aristocracy and the Third estates, in which two of these estates had special rights and especially for persons born in nobility or in some special class of the then French population. After the adoption of the doctrine, all the French citizens were guaranteed equal rights including right to property, right to security, right to liberty and right to resist to oppression among other human rights. The defining of these right was based on the premise that all rights reserved were to promote the general will and stopping actions that are likely to be harmful to the society. Third estates were entitled to less rights than the population in the in the First and the second estates and they constituted the majority of the laboring class before the enactment of the doctrine, while the first and the second class had good time with luxuries. Therefore it can be noted that the adoption of the declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens gave the third estates a new identity in society, because initially they had only individual rights and the privilege of being  patriotic French citizens. The third estates population was now guaranteed justice after the adoption of the doctrine (Paine, 1999).

            The declaration also improved the representation of citizens in all the estates in the government activities, where in the old regime the third estates population was only concern over their personal issues and not the desire to represent the majority. The declaration guaranteed the right to all estates for a public force and the persons who were in power were not expected to misuse their powers in exploiting the rest of the population for their own good but to protect the public interest.

            The declaration also addressed a thorny issue of tax that mostly affected the third estates working population. It was only the third estates population who were expected to pay tax, while exempting the church  and the first two estates, where the tax level was even high for the third estates population to afford, but  they were forced. On the adoption of the declaration taxes were equally spread throughout the French population and apportioned according to the income levels of individual persons. These new tax policies contained in the declaration benefited the working class and the less fortunate members of society in the sense that the tax burden to service government activities was now spread spread over a wider scope.

            The declaration also empowered the working men of the French government in the sense that their working rights were uplifted as they were guaranteed basic liberties which were denied in the old regime. They were now able to seek for any job and had no fears of  of being oppressed at their   respective work places or manipulated to act against their wishes.

            Among other issues addressed in the declaration include the rights to the accused person, the freedom to speech and press, and a slight guarantee to the freedom of worship. The declaration can be perceived as being quiet individualistic, and it did not address  freedom of assembly or the liberty of association.

            The united States Declaration of independence was  a declaration that the thirteen Great Britain colonies  North America were free and independent states and it was an act of the second continental congress which occurred on July 4, 1776. It was meant to dissolve all the Great Britain control in North America. It was formerly known as the Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America, and it was trying to  give reasons as to why the Great Britain government should withdraw from controlling the North American States.

                        The United States of America Declaration is believed to be the founding document of the United Stated of America, on which the fourth of July is celebrated as the US independence day. A t the declaration of the document all the North American states were united and it was signed by then elected congress president John Hancock, after which other  55 delegates had a chance of signing it on 2nd August of the following Month. This declaration was designed so as to solve the bad relationship that had grown between the Great Britain and its American colonies, which triggered the formation of a shadow government in each of the Great Britain colonies of North America. Both the United States of America   Declaration of Independence and the French declaration of rights for man and citizens are historical documents in which their adoptions lead to to the change of the government systems. For example the French government changed from absolute monarchy  government to a constitutional monarchy  government, whereas in the United states the declaration of independence changed the government system from a colony of the Great Britain to an Independent government of the United States of America (http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/ ).

            Both documents, the United States declaration of independence and the French declaration of rights for man and citizens had a main agenda of resolving disputes in society, where in the case of the French declaration of Rights for Man and Citizens tried to solve conflicts and human suffering among the French estates where some estates were treated preferably to other states thus it was a way of embracing equality and promoting humanity. The United States of America declaration of independence aimed at solving the disputes that were existing between the Great Britain and its colonies in  America. Therefore, the two documents were  designed to solve some disputes in society in promoting order and justice.

            The designing of both documents focused much on natural laws, as the content of the documents were dependent on promoting humanity  and equality in society. The identification of natural laws were influenced by the philosophers of that time and for example the United State declaration of independence borrowed much from a philosopher John Locke , which was the same source as the French declaration of rights for man and citizens. They were both designed to promote the general good in society.

            Both documents were advocating for the restoration of human rights, placing their argument that all men are equal and are subject to equal rights without exception. They both argue that men are born equal and they are entitled to human rights and non should take an an advantage over the other in either oppressing him or treating then unfairly as the application of justice should be on an equal  ground for all men.

            Conclusion. The French declaration of right for men and citizens is an historical document that was designed to correct inequalities in the government of France and in promoting coexistence among the French estates. The United States of America declaration of independence documents is an historical  document that was explaining as to why the Great Britain should surrender from controlling its colonies in the North America in promoting equity and coexistence among the American states and human rights too. The two documents are perceived as the determinate of the current situations in their respective governments as they laid a necessary foundation for building equal societies as they promote both justice and human rights. Most of the similarities that are in both documents arose from the influence of the American ambassador in France by then.


Independent Hall Association,1999. The Declaration of Independence: The want,Will and Hope            of People, Retrieved from; http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/

Murphy G.,2001, Declaration of Rights for Man and of Citizens, Retrieved from;            http://www.constitution.org/fr/fr_drm.htm

Paine T,, 1999, Rights of Man, Courier Dover Publication, France, pp 65

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