Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen

August 26th 1789

 

" The representatives of French people, made up in a National Assembly, considering that ignorance, lapse of memory or contempt of human rights of man are the only causes of public misfortune and of corruption of governments, have decided to expose, in a solemn declaration, the natural, inalienable and holly rights of man, so that this declaration, constantly present with all the member of social set, recalls them unceasingly their rights and their duties; so that the act of legislative power , and those of executive power can be at every moment compared with the goal of all political institutions, and be more respected; so that the complaints of the citizens, founded from now on on the simple and undeniable principles, always turn to the maintenance of the Constitution and to the happiness of all.

  Consequently, the national Assembly recognizes and declares, in presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and citizen:

Article I : Men are born and remain free and equal in right. The social distinctions can be founded only on the common utility.

Article II : The goal of any political association is the conservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of the man. These rights are freedom, property, safety and resistance to oppression.

Article III : The principle of any sovereignty lies primarily in the nation. No body, no individual cannot exert authority which does not emanate from it expressly.

Article IV : Freedom consists in being able to do all that does not harm others: thus the exercise of natural rights of each man is only limited to the ones which confer to other members of the society the respect of these same rights. These limits can be given only by the law.

Article V : The law has the right to defend only the harmful actions to the society. All that is not forbidden by the law can be prevented, and no one can be constrained to make what it does not order.

Article VI : The law is the expression of the general will. All the citizens have the right to contribute personally, or through their representatives, to its formation. It must be the same one for all, either that it protects, or that it punishes. All the citizen being equal in regard to it, are also access to all dignities, places and public employment , according to their capacity and without any other distinction that their virtue and their talent.

Article VII : No man cannot be accused, imprisoned nor held unless in the cases determined by the law, and according to forms which it prescribed. Those which solicit, dispatch, carry out or make carry out arbitrary orders, must be punished; but any citizen called or seized under the terms of the law must obey immediately: he makes himself guilty by resistance.

Article VIII : The law should establish only strictly and obviously necessary punishments, and people can be punished only under the terms of one law established and promulgated before the offence and legally applied.

Article IX : Any man is supposed to be innocent until he has been declared guilty, if it is considered as necessary to imprison him, any rigor which would not be necessary to ensure of his person must be severely repressed by the law.

Article X : No one should be worried for his opinions, even the religious ones, provided that their demonstration does not disturb the law nor the order established by the law.

Article XI : The free communication of the thoughts and the opinions is one of the most invaluable rights of man : any citizen can thus speak, write, print freely; except answering of the abuse this freedom in the cases envisaged by the law.

Article XII : The guarantee of the humans right and of the citizen requires a police force: this force is thus instituted for the advantage of all and not for the particular utility of those whom it is entrusted to.

Article XIII : For the maintenance of the police force and the expenditure of administration, a common contribution is essential. It must be also distributed between all the citizens, in function of their faculties.

Article XIV : Each citizen has the right, by himself or by his representatives, to state the need of the public contribution , to agree freely to it, to follow its use, and to determine its share, its quantity, its recovery and its duration.

 Article XV : The society has the right to ask for counts to any public agent of its administration.

 Article XVI : Any society , in which the guarantee of right be not assured, nor the separation of powers determined, has no Constitution.

 Article XVII : The property being an invincible and holly , no one can be deprived of it, unless when the public need , legally stated, requires it obviously, and under the condition of a fair and preliminary allowance. "

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Chapters in English: Introduction , Mr Agnelet , Mr B , Louis , Declaration of the Human Rights of Citizen - 1789

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