Primary Source

French Constitution, Rights of Man and Citizen


This image of the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen includes a fascinating mix of symbols. By arranging the articles on tablets, the artist clearly meant to associate this document with Moses’ Ten Commandments. Such a link could establish the French revolutionaries’ handiwork as equivalent to that of God. Reinforcing this is the all–seeing eye located at the top of the tableau. However, this is not the God of biblical revelation but of the Masonic order, which espoused a deistic vision of a benevolent creator and founder of general laws. This deity was not a worker of miracles. Thus the Declaration results from the actions of humankind, who enjoy the beneficence of the generous deity.


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Museé de la Révolution Française, Vizille

How to Cite This Source

"French Constitution, Rights of Man and Citizen," in World History Commons, [accessed July 23, 2024]