Declarations and Rights


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Points of commonality in the English Bill of Rights (1689), US Declaration of Independence (1776), and French Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen (1789). Also a few differences. This is based on an assignment I used in my 2012 World History survey.

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Declarations and Rights

  1. 1. Declarations and Rights English Bill of Rights (1689)US Declaration of Independence (1776)French Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen (1789)
  2. 2. Rule of Law• “By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws and the execution of laws without consent of Parliament.” / “That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal.” (1689)• “He has refused his Assent to Laws” / “He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.” (1776)• “Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.” (1789)
  3. 3. Representation• “By violating the freedom of election of members to serve in Parliament.” (1689)• “He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.” (1776)• “Every citizen has a right to participate personally, or through his representative, in its foundation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes.” (1789)
  4. 4. Due Process• “And several grants and promises made of fines and forfeitures before any conviction or judgment against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied.” (1689)• “For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States; For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury” (1776)• “No person shall be accused, arrested, or imprisoned except in the cases and according to the forms prescribed by law.” (1789)
  5. 5. Popular Sovereignty• "Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons assembled at Westminster, lawfully, fully and freely representing all the estates of the people of this realm..." (1689)• "the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise" (1776)• "The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.” (1789)
  6. 6. Rights Endowed At Birth• “pray that it may be declared and enacted that all and singular the rights and liberties asserted and claimed in the said declaration are the true, ancient and indubitable rights and liberties of the people of this kingdom” (1689)• “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (1776)• “The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.” (1789)
  7. 7. Military Forces• "That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is against law" (1689)• "He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. " (1776)• "The security of the rights of man and of the citizen requires public military forces. These forces are, therefore, established for the good of all and not for the personal advantage of those to whom they shall be intrusted." (1789)
  8. 8. Taxes• "That levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative, without grant of Parliament, for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal" (1689)• "For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent..." (1776)• "All the citizens have a right to decide, either personally or by their representatives, as to the necessity of the public contribution; to grant this freely; to know to what uses it is put; and to fix the proportion, the mode of assessment and of collection and the duration of the taxes." (1789)
  9. 9. Fair Trial• "That jurors ought to be duly impanelled and returned, and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high treason ought to be freeholders" (1689)• "For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury" (1776)• "No person shall be accused, arrested, or imprisoned except in the cases and according to the forms prescribed by law. Any one soliciting, transmitting, executing, or causing to be executed, any arbitrary order, shall be punished. But any citizen summoned or arrested in virtue of the law shall submit without delay, as resistance constitutes an offense." (1789)
  10. 10. Political Speech• "right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal" and “freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of parliament” (1689)• "he has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people" (1776)• "No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law" and "Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law" (1789)
  11. 11. SubtletiesDifferences Whats Missing?• Religious Freedom • Universal citizenship• Clarity and purpose • Womens rights• Monarchy• Aristocracy
  12. 12. Sources• tion_transcript.html• asp•• Background: Confederate Flag, Wilsons Creek Battlefield Museum, picture by Jonathan Dresner