From the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein   Whereas the American people established their Bill of Rights as an adjunct to the Constitution of the United States, the French people established theirs in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen in 1789. This was the first time a government of the people had been established in Europe, allowing the people to govern themselves. In the French National Assembly, the Declaration was set out for the following three reasons: 1. To be a perpetual reminder of the people's rights and duties; 2. To be sure that the acts of the legislative power and the executive power might be constantly compared with the aims of political institutions and accordingly be more respected; and 3. To be sure that the demands of the citizens might always be directed toward the maintenance of the Constitution and the welfare of the people. A restatement of the freedoms listed include the following concepts: 1. All men are equal. 2. They have the natural rights to liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression. 3. Sovereignty lies in the nation; no group or individual may take authority that does not emanate from the state. 4. Men are free to do anything not harmful to others. 5. Laws can only restrict harmful behavior. 6. All citizens are free to hold public office. 7. Citizens must be free from unlawful arrest. 8. No one may receive any penalties not prescribed by law. 9. Citizens are free from excessive force from the government, and a citizen is presumed innocent until proved guilty. 10. Citizens are free to hold their own opinions, including religious opinions. 11. Citizens are free to express their opinions through speaking, writing, or publishing them. 12. A police force will be maintained as a protection for the people. 13. Taxes will be assessed equally on all citizens under the law. 14. Taxation will be made only through public consent and oversight. 15. All public agencies must account for their administrations. 16. To guarantee the Constitution, there must be a separation of powers of the legislative and executive bodies. 17. Citizens will be free from loss of property except as public necessity requires and the law designates. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily