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C O U R S E 
The French Revolution
Peter McPhee, The University of Melbourne
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
Notes taken on November 24, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
the National Assembly
composed of the representatives of the three states called together by Louis XVI in May 1789
it becomes transformed by the victory of the revolution into the National Assembly
July 1789
after storming of the Bastille
one of Louis XVI's brothers is so disgusted with the political situation and the intervention of the populace, so he decides to emigrate
a few others have left and went home as well
but the great majority of clerics and the nobles join with the Third Estate
become part of the National Assembly
governed France in conjunction with the king
started receiving news from all over country
peasants had
taken matters into their own hands
attacked chateaus
seized registers
refused to pay taxes
August 4, 1789
peak of rebellion in countryside
the only way to respond to this is to recognize that many of our feudal rights must end
make wholesale sacrifices of rights and exemptions
propose article to abolish feudal regime completely
but then pull back on this
eventually it is qualified in a significant way
the great mass of harvest dues are regarded as a legal form of rent
"feudalism is abolished, but the system must continue as it is until we find a way for the lords to be compensated for what they lost"
this hesitation as to whether the feudal system is or is not abolished completely
becomes the center of the rural phase of the revolution for the next few years
August decrees are much more clear about other matters
Article 9. privilege in taxation abolished
one common taxation system for all French people
Article 10. all special privileges of provinces, towns and communities
Article 17. Louis XVI is the Restorer of French liberty
after all he was the one who called the Estates General together
three days after the storming of the Bastille he rode into Paris from Versailles
at that moment he weds the white color of the Bourbon royal family to the red and blue colors of the city of Paris to create the red, white, and blue symbol of the French nation
Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, August 27, 1789
1. Men are born and remain free and equal in rights
2. these rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression
3. the principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation, with the people
like their colleagues across the Atlantic, legitimate power now must come from below
this is the most radical change in the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen
legitimacy now came from below
Louis XVI had been King of France by the Grace of God
was responsible to God alone for the well-being of his people
what the National Assembly was effectively saying was that they were reversing the whole foundation of political legitimacy
4. liberty consists in being able to do anything that is not harmful to others, only the law may determine these limits
these rights are not gifts of the monarch, they are rights that belong to people as human beings
has 17 articles
each is a direct repudiation of monarchical and feudal society
the task of the National Assembly is to now put these principle in practice
key elements of society changed
absolute monarchy to: constitutional monarchy
divine right to: popular sovereignty
privilege to: equality in taxes, laws and beliefs
hierarchy of birth to: merit, talent
partial abolition of feudalism