French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizens (1793)

Whilst the Australian Constitution was being formulated (in the late 1890s) many similar models were looked at by the constitutionalists from around the world and in particular were Canada and the USA (the idea of federalism), and Switzerland (referendums). Britain obviously provided the core ideas of monarchy and parliamentary democracy and France with its Declaration of the Rights of Man, something to think further on.

1. The aim of society is the common welfare. Government is established to guarantee to man the enjoyment of his natural and inalienable rights.

2. These rights are equality, liberty, security, and property.

3. All men are equal by nature and before law.

4. Law is the free and solemn expression of the general will. It is the same for all, whether it protects or whether it punishes; it may command only that which is just and useful to society; it may prohibit only that which is harmful to it.

5. All citizens are equally eligible for public office. Free people recognize no other basis of preference in their elections than virtue and talent.

6. Liberty is the power belonging to man to do anything which does not infringe upon the rights of others. It has for its principle, nature: for its rule, justice; for its safeguard, law its moral limit is expressed by this maxim: do not that to any other which you wish not done to yourself.

7. The right of manifesting one's thoughts and opinions, either by the voice of the press or by any other means, the right of peaceable assembly, the right of free worship, may not be forbidden.

8. Security consists in the protection that society accords each one of its members for the protection of his person, his rights, and his property.

9. The law must protect both public and individual liberty against the oppression of those who govern.

10. No one must be accused, arrested, or detained except in cases determined by law and in accordance with the forms which it prescribes. Any citizen summoned or seized by the authority of the law must obey immediately; he renders himself culpable by resistance.

11. Every act directed against a person outside the cases and forms determined by law is arbitrary and tyrannical; the person against whom one attempts to execute such an act by violence has the right of forcible resistance.

12. Those who incite, expedite, sign. execute, or cause to be executed, arbitrary acts are guilty and must be punished.

13. All men being presumed innocent until proved guilty, when it becomes necessary that a person be arrested, all severity beyond that necessary to secure his person must be strictly curbed by law.

14. No one must be judged and sentenced until after a legal summons and hearing, and by virtue of a law made public before the crime. Any law that punished crimes committed before its enactment would be tyrannical; the retroactive effect given to such a law would be criminal.

15. The law must impose only penalties which are strictly and obviously necessary; the penalties must be proportionate to the crime, and in themselves useful to society.

16. The right of property is the right which belongs to every citizen to enjoy. and at will to dispose of, his goods, his revenues, and the fruit of his labour and industry.

17. No form of labour, tillage, or commerce may be forbidden to the industry of the citizens.

18. Every man may lease his servants and his time, but he may not sell himself nor be sold; his person is not a transferable property. The law does not recognize servitude; the only bond which may exist between the laborer and the man who hires him is that based on protection and gratitude.

19. No one may be deprived of the least part of his property without his consent, except when a legally certified public necessity requires it, and then only on rendition of a just, pre-arranged indemnity.

Translated from The Constitution of 1793.

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