Declaration of Saint-Ouen

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The Declaration of Saint-Ouen is a statement made by the future Louis XVIII on May 2, 1814, which paved the way for Bourbon Restoration.

Upon landing in France, the future king rejected the provisional constitution proposed by the Senate as part of the Treaty of Paris, stating that "the principles thereof were good, but that a great number of articles hear the impress of the haste with which they were drawn up and they cannot in their present form become fundamental laws of the State." However, he promised to adopt a new "liberal constitution" to be drafted by a commission drawn from Parliament. Louis declared that the constitution would maintain representative government with a bicameral legislature, protect freedom of the press, freedom of opinion, and freedom of worship, and guarantee personal and public liberty. The declaration stated, notably, that the lands of the aristocrats who fled, which the Republic had sold at auction, were not to be confiscated, and that no restitution was to be given. Further, that the Napoleonic Code of Law was to remain in force, that the awards and social function of the Legion of Honor given to those loyal to Napoleon was not to be abolished. Napoleon's changes to the educational system, most notably the University of Paris, would remain. It was the desire to restore all these issues to their pre-revolutionary conditions that most dramatically defined a reactionary. Many of the Ultras held these notions, thus becoming far more reactionary than the King's own policies.

The promised constitution was eventually adopted in the Charter of 1814.