The United States Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

The United States Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

 

The United States Declaration, written in 1776, and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, written in 1789, are similar documents stressing freedom and equality; however are different, not because of the content, but because why they were composed. The United States Declaration of Independence was composed in order to outline how the States had been wronged and oppressed long enough by the British. The French Declaration was written to outline and put into writing the natural rights that each citizen had.

The Declaration of Independence refers to the people of the United States as being free, and outlines how the British royalty stands in the way of free people living freely. This is similar to the first clause of the French Declaration, where it states that all people are free and are to live in equality. This point is relevant and present in all declarations of this nature. When leaders come together to compose documents such as these, they rarely neglect to remind that everyone is born equal. The difference between these two declarations outlining the point of natural freedom and equality is the circumstance in which both were written. The United States, being oppressed by the British, were writing the Declaration of Independence to prove a point to the oppressors. The United States Declaration of Independence was written to achieve freedom and independence from tyranny. The French declaration was composed for the French, as a reminder and official document outlining what the French valued. The two civilizations were in very different social situations, so with that in mind, it is difficult to compare the two documents because they were written for completely different reasons.

The timing of the composition of the two documents is also important when comparing the texts and their content. The American Declaration of Independence was written in 1776, and the French Declaration 13 years later. Other declarations, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, also have the same root as the Declaration of Independence as far as content is considered. These declarations all have in common that they outline and stress free and equality of the individual. The United States declaration of independence started the trend of composing official documents stating natural human rights that all individuals possess.

The United States Declaration of Independence and French declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen were both documents standing for freedom and equality. The documents were written at different times, with different priorities; however, both stood for same cause. The United States declaration was fighting for freedom and equality, while the French declaration was simply enforcing it.

Robert Ekblom

Professor Karl Qualls

Utopias/Dystopias

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