The journey of human civilization has brought in drastic change with the passage of time. In most cases it is the past experiences that have shaped our present world. Similar has been the development
of various kinds of rights across the globe. Amongst the many historical events
that contributed to express the rise of people to claim their rightful share of
rights in order to live a better life, contribution of certain events that
took place on French soil must be recognized.
One such event was the "declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen" that will be
discussed in this work, also depicting that good things don't come easy but are
a result of extraordinary courage and sacrifice of the people. It was the
problems that motivated common people to rise against arbitrary powers holders.
"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another
"- William James
The human race has developed a lot from its primary days of the past, today the
possibility of living a secured life full of opportunities is possible however,
same must not be taken easy but respected because it is a result of immense
sacrifices and hard work of those who have been lost in historical past. The
work of certain persons inspires through time and not limited to
impacting particular places but impact reaching across destinations on
different edges of the globe.
The revolution that took place in France inspired various countries to follow ideas aimed at fighting for their right against
those with might. This changed the course of history as people unsettled
the ruling structure by revolting against the rulers.
The structure in the French territory was divided into three classes namely: 1st estate comprising
of top ministers or the higher class of people.
2nd estate group of renowned qualified people.
3rd estate constituting the ordinary people, popular masses of citizen.
It was during the tenure of Louis- Auguste popularly remembered by description
XVI who was forcefully challenged upon his authority was last to rule as abolition of monarchy brought abrupt end
not only to his reign but also his life.2
The French revolution was an undaunted inspiration to the world therefore it
more important to know about the thing that itself gave backing to such an extraordinary struggle it was the Declaration
des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen which formed the backbone for
starting momentum for change in France.
The present structure of human rights across the world has resorted to usage of
various principles that originally formed part of the "Declaration of the Rights
of Man and of the Citizen" which originally came into existence and saw light of
the day not before 1789.
The ordinary class of people turned tables of authority when France saw them
upon themselves as part of the national assembly sidelining the control of Louis XVI who convened the session
after a time span of around 175 years before it previously met. This was time
was challenged but almost taken away from the ruler of the French state. A set of important provisions were
laid by them to decide the future rights that were to be bestowed upon people
comprising citizenry of that place.
The theory of separation of powers by famous scholar Montesquieu in one of his
writings contributed during the drafting of French Declaration of 1789. He
openly mocked ruler Louis IV tenure in his work Persian letters.3
The works of Rousseau which laid special emphasis to rights and liberties at the same time tackling existing
inequalities formed a guiding light which was well reflected under the
provisions of declaration.4
This man who fearlessly pointed out issues that inspire strength to fight
against arbitrary power even today was Francois Marie Arouet today popularly
known as "Voltaire." His approach
of writing towards issues of people's concern and authorities in power, earned him even exile amongst other punishments. The main components of his work were aimed at the evils like arbitrary power, inequality etc.5
The opportunity to prepare an overview or outline for the basic framework of the
much-expected document was with Lafayette. The task was completed by him with
the special role of his
close friend Jefferson. This role gave him enough popularity which though was short lived due to death of certain people protesting which were killed by persons under his command. It is also interesting to
mention his unsuccessful role in trying to protect the ruler and his family who
later were captured by a revolutionary group of citizens.6
A Short Summary
The preamble to the declaration denotes the purposes it intends to achieve and
rights to grant people with, after denying the authority of the ruler in order
to bring in revolutionary changes
in the interest of common people. It backs Rousseau's idea of having regard to the general will of the people
in order to determine real power. It also lays safeguards for citizens by
segregating sets of rights under different heads to ensure proper compliance and
effectiveness. The document is
not a lengthy one but it certainly has fit into several constitutional frameworks around the world that are
found today. They are now a part of rights considered as necessary or
fundamental required for living happily.
One significant shift before authority of monarch was challenged and later, at time of declaration, was
that arbitrary and unhindered access to power while delivering justice which was
often misused was replaced by the concept of equality before law thereby
protecting and promoting citizen rights.7
Original Translated Document From French
|Rights of Man and Citizen 9
||Universal Declaration of Human Rights 10
||The Constitution of India 1
Born Free And Equal
Born Free And Equal
Liberty, property, security
Life, liberty, security
Life and personal liberty
Law ought to prohibit only actions hurtful to society.
To respect rights of others, limitation for general welfare of society.
|19 (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
Law same to all, equal in sight
Equal before law, equal protection
Equality before law
No one to be punished for law promulgated earlier
than offence was committed
Presumption of innocence
Thoughts precious right and opinions
Freedom of opinion and expression
Freedom of speech and expression
Right to property not to be deprived except public necessity being
legally backed and just indemnity
Right to property, no one can be deprived arbitrarily.
No deprivation save by authority of law.
- https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/william_james_385478 (last visited Nov 10, 2020).
- Jeremy David Popkin, Louis XVI Encyclopædia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Louis-XVI (last visited Nov 10, 2020).
- Robert Shackleton, Montesquieu Encyclopædia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Montesquieu (last visited Nov 10, 2020).
- Brian Duignan, Jean-Jacques Rousseau Encyclopædia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jean-
Jacques-Rousseau (last visited Nov 10, 2020
- René Henry Pomeau, Exile to England Encyclopædia
Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Voltaire/Exile-to-England (last visited Nov 10, 2020).
- Marc Leepson, The French Revolution Encyclopædia Britannica,
(last visited Nov 10, 2020).
- Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen de 1789, Déclaration des
Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen de 1789 - Légifrance,
(last visited Nov 10, 2020).
- The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, 1789, constitutionnet.org, http://constitutionnet.org/sites/default/files/declaration_of_the_rights_of_man_1789.pdf (last visited Nov
- Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, History Crunch -
History Articles, Summaries, Biographies, Resources and More, https://www.historycrunch.com/declaration-of-the-rights-of-man-and-of-the-citizen.html#/
(last visited Nov 10, 2020
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations, https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human- rights/index.html (last visited Nov 10, 2020).
- The Constitution Of India, legislative.gov.in, http://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/COI.pdf (last visited
Nov 10, 2020).