Thursday, January 10, 2013

History Qtr 2 Week 5 Paper


Alright. I don't usually post a lot of my school papers on here, and ESPECIALLY not the history papers. But I have been working on this sucker for over a week. I could absolutely not come up with a single thing to say about my topic. I even wrote the NEXT assigned paper before this one. As such, I am extremely proud of it now that it is finished, and I just thought I'd share it with you.

          The French played a pivotal role in helping the American Colonies win their independence from the British government in 1783. A few short years later, the French decided they wanted their freedom, too. This is not at all surprising that the passion for liberty spread to Europe, especially in France, where the social system had been corrupt and unjust for years. The First and Second Estates had all the wealth and power while the Third Estate struggled and starved. The Declaration of the Rights of Man was the official response of the people of France to oppression and tyranny, and it was approved by the National Assembly of France in 1789.
            Unlike the Declaration of Independence, which sought to reach a diplomatic decision and held war as a last resort, The Declaration of the Rights of Man was a document written to declare the people’s desire for freedom and equality, even if it meant overthrowing the government. It consists of 17 articles that make definitive statements about the rights all men ought to have an equal share in. In America, the biggest issue that led the people to war was the fact that they were not being given a voice overseas in England, where all their laws and liberties were being controlled. In France, the issue was not that none of the people had any say, but that some of the people had all the say. There was major class discrimination, and the lowest class did all the work and bore all the suffering. The 1st Article of the Declaration states, “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good.”
            Because of the system of Estates (First Estate, Second Estate, and Third Estate), France was a top-heavy structure. The lowest estate had nothing, and the two higher estates had it all, which made it easy for corruption to spread throughout the nobility, and also the Church. Because of this corruption throughout all of France, even in the Church, the place that should have been an example of morality, very many rights were being denied to the poor and underprivileged. What kind of rights were the people asking for? Unfortunately, the rights within the 17 articles should never have been denied to them in the first place. Equality, religious freedom, and right to property are all included in The Declaration of the Rights of Man. The 13th Article reiterates the unfairness of this class system: “A common contribution is essential for the maintenance of the public forces and for the cost of administration. This should be equitably distributed among all the citizens in proportion to their means.” It is interesting that the same people who stormed the Bastille prison in violence and chaos just a month before proceeded to call out in their declaration for nothing more fervently than balance and order.  
            In conclusion, the Third Estate of France was a veritable time bomb, and The Declaration of the Rights of Man was the fuse. It gave to the greedy and corrupt First and Second Estates fair warning of the people’s desperation to be free and treated with equality.  The Declaration can be summarized by the very true statement found within its 16th Article: “A society in which the observance of the law is not assured, nor the separation of powers defined, has no constitution at all.” Unfortunately, the nobility and religious leaders refused to listen to the reasonable voices of the Third Estate, and so they answered to outright violence. 

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