Enlightenment Period


TheDeclaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizenwas passed in France’s National Constituent Assembly in August1789. It was influenced by the doctrine of ‘natural right’, therights of man are held to be universal valid at all times and inevery place, about human nature itself. It became the basis for anation of free individual protected by law (Hunt 77). The declarationasserts the principles of popular sovereignty rather than the divineright of kings that characterize the French Monarchy. This resolutionshows elimination of the special rights of nobility and clergy in amanner that all men have equal rights to employments, publicdignities, and other places regardless of their social class theyare all similar before the law (Hunt 77). However, this iscontrasting because in a country, there have to be leaders who shouldguide the people and if the heads are similar to the citizens thenthere will be no respect for the former. The country will be unrulysince no one will want to follow another man’s order whereas theyhave equal rights.

Thedeclaration also gives men the rights to do anything as long as itdoes not cause harm to others. Therefore, the exercise of the naturalrights of each man has only those borders that assure other membersof the society the enjoyment of the same rights. Those borders aredetermined by law (Hunt 77). It also gives men freedom of speechmales are given the rights of free communication of thoughts andopinions. This would support individualism other than the traditionalway of ruling where people were dictated on what to do without havingto question the authorities.

Womenalso came up with theDeclaration of Rights of Woman and the Female Citizenin 1791, which drew attention for gender equality. By women workingwith men other than separately, they would bring greater change tothe revolution of females. Women propose a declaration that wouldgive them equal rights. Those remarks are similar to those of men,but it enables the women to have their rights and have a significantrole in the civic sphere, by forming social movements andparticipating in popular clubs, despite their lack of directpolitical influence. This gives women equal opportunities as men, andthat is a significant step towards the revolution of France.

Revolutionwould be brought about if people were fully enlightened, that is, ifthey were acutely aware of their rights. Those declarations of manand woman expose the failure of the French revolution, which has beendevoted to equality. It states that “Thisrevolution will only take effect when women become fully aware oftheir deplorable condition, and of the rights they have lost insociety”.


Hunt,Lynn. “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen,August 1789: A Revolutionary Document.” RevolutionaryMoments: Reading Revolutionary Texts(2015): 77