of Human Rights
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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