The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen adopted by the National Assembly in 1789
The 1789 declaration is one of the major turning points in the political dynamics of the history and represents a significant turning point for the French Revolution. The document defined collective and individual rights. The natural rights doctrine was one of the influencing factors during its drafting stage in 1789. Such rights were expected to be valid and applicable in the generations to come and be observed in different places. The national constituent assembly adopted the declaration in 1789 as an initial sign of the recognition of the significance of having a constitution (Jellinek, 1901). The declaration was aimed at recognizing the fundamental human rights and freedoms and encouraging the French nationals to accept them, making it possible to be used up to the current century with some changes to comply with the current societal demands if necessary. The national assembly believed that lack of recognition, ignorance and not observing the fundamental human rights and freedoms are the primary causes of misfortunes to the populace and fosters corruption in governance. In the bid to curb these problems, they decided to come up with the declaration focused on protecting human rights and freedoms.
The representatives of the national assembly in France believed that the resolution could enable all citizens to be recognized and treated with equality. This meant that the executive and the legislative powers had to act in a manner that shows respect and recognition to the citizens without any form of oppression. The primary aim of political leaders and associations was to ensure that human rights have been preserved to ensure peaceful co-existence in the society. For instance, the citizens should not be arrested, accused, or imprisoned without following the due process and complying with all the necessary steps that need to be followed as prescribed by the law. In the current society, these laws are still in force, and they have significantly contributed to personal developments in the country because the citizens have a chance of expressing their needs and are protected by the law from oppression by those in power. After agreeing on the process of declaring the human rights, the National Assembly deputies faced a task of ensuring that they have composed a draft that could be favored by a majority of the members of the National Assembly. For instance, there were concerns on whether the declaration should be based on general principles, or include an explanation of all the articles. Also, they had to determine whether it could include duties or it was only rights. Additionally, they had to define what the sacred, inalienable and natural rights of man were. After deliberations, they eventually agreed on some issues and drafted a declaration of seventeen articles, which laid out the new perspective of the government. As a result, some of the duties of the king were replaced by the natural rights. Eventually, the national assembly recognized and declared the following rights that were relevant to France history.
Men have equal rights, and social distinction can only be based on the principles of common utility. Comparing this article to the current state of affairs, it can still be seen that the citizens are recognized and treated with equality, and there are no forms of oppression by the governing officials. For any country to develop, the citizens should be given enough freedom to be involved in various economic activities so long as they comply with the laws of the land and observe other peoples rights and liberties (Jellinek, 1901). There is no contrast to this article because the French citizens are free and have equal rights and this is one of the primary reasons for its good development record.
The main purpose of political associations in France is the preservation and protection of imprescriptible and natural rights of man. Some of these rights are the right to own property, the right to liberty, resistance to oppression, and security. However, even if the political association is tasked with these roles, there are more activities that they are involved in. The French politics has a semi-presidential system as determined by the fifth republics constitution. The country observes the tenets of national sovereignty based on the 1789 declaration. There is a contrast between the roles and responsibilities as defined by the 1789 declaration and the current state of affairs. For instance, in addition to the duties as defined by the declaration, the political systems, as represented by the French parliament, votes on the budget and passes statutes. Additionally, it checks the activities of the executive through raising legal questions on the floor and even goes ahead to establish a commission of inquiry if conditions dictate.
The national assembly in the current France can pass a motion of censure against the government and remove it from power in case it violates human rights and freedoms. That is the reason the government should have a dominant representation in the national assembly. From these additional roles by the political associations, it is clear that there are some differences between the current constitution and the 1789 document on the declaration of human rights as explained in Article 2.
Freedom of liberty enables the members of the society to do what they want, but their actions should not adversely affect other citizens or violate their rights and liberties. As outlined by the 1789 document, the law is still in force, and the French nationals have the liberty to be involved in various activities of their interests so long as they do not violate other peoples rights and freedoms. As outlined in Article 4, Liberty constitutes individual actions that do not harm others. It, therefore, means that exercising individual rights and freedoms has some restrictions based on the well-being of other citizens as everybody should enjoy the constitutional rights and freedoms without restrictions. The restrictions are based on other peoples rights and freedoms (Price, 1790). Another contradiction of the 1789 document to the current country is that the rights only recognized men by sidelining women. Additionally, it was a document based on vision and not reality as it should be in the current French governance. For the declaration to be considered effective, it has to include all citizens without prejudice based on gender, occupation or economic status. This, therefore, represents another contradiction between the current governance and that of 1789.
At the time when the declaration was being drafted, other factors were not considered. It was only based on the individual rights and democracy that were considered as synonyms. The current constitution is focused on the citizenry wellbeing now and in the future while the declaration was mainly based in the future of France. The second article brought any form of oppression to an end and facilitated the need for men to be recognized but at the same time exposed the true nature and levels of prejudice based on gender by putting the only man into consideration and not their women counterparts. However, it is important that the current constitution considers all citizens, irrespective of gender. Men were allowed to own property, and the state assured the security of the society and this represents a similarity in the current French governance.
The national assembly, which acted as a representative of the French people in management, believed that neglect, ignorance, or contempt of the fundamental rights and freedoms of man represents the primary reason for public calamities. These conditions bread corrupt governments, and there is the necessity to have a solemn declaration of inalienable, natural and sacred rights that protects man so that this declaration can act as a reminder of the members in the power of their duties to take care of man. This means that the legislative and executive power should take the responsibility of ensuring that the demands of the citizens have been factored into governance and ensure that they are happy at all times. As a result, it came up with the rights of man that should be obeyed.
The assertion is true because contempt of human rights means that those in governance does not recognize the citizens as individuals who need to be respected. That is why even in the current French, there is a written Constitution that acts as a guide for the behaviors and actions for those in power. The primary aim of having written rules is to enable those in power to refer to it on a regular basis to avoid contradicting themselves for the benefit of the common citizen. By taking some of the corrupt countries in the world, it is true that government officials who are involved in stealing public resources slow the rate of development. Delaying some of the developmental projects that are meant to benefit the society may lead to natural calamities that affect the ordinary members. For instance, if an official diverts public funds that were to be used for the construction of a drainage system to private use, then the society is prone to suffer from the effects of poor drainage such as sewerage blockages and water sanitation.
Article 6 gives the citizens a chance to express their views and grievances to the government through their representatives. Additionally, they can participate in the law making process in person, which represents an expression of one's will. Before the law, all citizens are considered equal and have same chances of occupying leadership position irrespective of their gender, age, or financial status. They should only be judged depending on their abilities to take leadership positions and deliver as per the expectations. Assigning the citizens, certain posts based on their merit is an essential requirement that is even practiced currently as it ensures that the provision of public services is done as per the expectations and with the necessary efficiency. Taking an example of an official that has been appointed to an office that requires a lot of formalities in executing the duties assigned, the officer must have the capacity to handle such duties (Price, 1790). Otherwise, the citizens will stand to suffer because of inefficiency in terms of service delivery. The government should follow the due process of recruiting or appointing officials to ensure that the interests of the citizens have been considered instead of just ensuring that friends and relatives have occupied positions.
According to Article 7, No man can be accused, arrested or detained, except in the cases determined by the law and according to the forms it has prescribed (Price, 1790). This article was meant to protect the citizens from unnecessary oppression. Without it, the society would not be conducive for the ordinary public due to the fear of being arrested, accused, or even imprisoned even if one has not committed any crime. This law is even applicable currently as the law enforcement officers have been trained to the requirements of the law and the rights and freedoms of the citizens. When comparing the current constitution and article seven of the declaration, there is a similarity as both protects the citizens in equal measure. For instance, if a citizen has been summoned by the requirements of the law, he/she should respond as necessary without resistance. Failure to comply with the summon will lead to the violation of the law and should be judged. It, therefore, means that there are some of the p...
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