Declaration of the Rights of Men and of Citizens

Essay by AlphaOmegaHigh School, 11th gradeA+, September 2014

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The Declaration of The Rights of Men and Of Citizens - An Analysis in Five Parts


The Declaration of The Rights of Man and of Citizens begins with a clear stipulation of intrinsic freedom and equality in every man. Equality, therefore, seems to be an appropriate place to begin. The Declaration defines our equality in relation to our rights, such that we are all born with the same entitlements and among them the right to perpetuate such rights throughout our lives.

Each and every one of us is entitled to the expression of the will of a community (which, according to Rousseau, is the collective will of the constituent individuals). In a similar light, the law is to regard each individual without bias; performing its duty of punishment or protection as justice sees fit. The sixth section of the declaration states that:

"All being equal in its sight, are equally eligible to all honours, places and employments, according to their different abilities, without any other distinction than that created by their virtues and talents."

Effectually, this levels the metaphorical playing field, rightly empowers the skilful and the able while ensuring men are distinguished not by the colour of their skin, nor by their religion and neither by their wealth - but by their merits and abilities.

Unfortunately that has never been so. There are a plethora of sordid historical examples that contravene section VI. The apartheid, holocaust and slave trade are amongst the many historical events that have grossly violated the former section. Nepotism, racism, sexism and segregation still ail society and contribute to its atrophic senescence.

One audacious claim is that every man is innocent, until proven guilty by the law. The present Catholic Church disagrees, believing than everyone is born with the burden of original sin. It...