French Constitution of 1793

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French Constitution of 1793

The Constitution of 24 June 1793[1] (French: Acte constitutionnel du 24 juin 1793), also known as the Constitution of the Year I, or The Montagnard Constitution[2] (French: Constitution montagnarde), was the constitution instated by the Montagnards and by popular referendum under the First Republic during the French Revolution. Drafted by the Committee of Public Safety which was enlarged with the purpose of producing it, the text was presented to the National Convention on 10 June and subsequently accepted by that body on 24 June 1793. The constitution was then ratified by a popular referendum employing universal male suffrage, following approval by 1,784,377 out of approximately 1,800,000 voters.[3] The Convention found in the external and internal state of war sufficient reason to maintain itself until peace and postponed the Constitution's implementation. Though the Constitution was overwhelmingly popular and its drafting and ratification buoyed popular support for the Montagnards, the convention set it aside indefinitely on 10 October 1793 and declared a "Revolutionary Government" until a future peace.[4]

The Constitution was inspired by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, to which it added several rights: it proclaimed the superiority of popular sovereignty over national sovereignty; various economic and social rights (right of association, right to work and public assistance, right to public education); the right of rebellion (and duty to rebel when the government violates the right of the people); and the abolition of slavery written in what is known as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1793.

In 1795, it was eventually supplanted by the Constitution of the Year III, which established the Directory. The revolutionaries of 1848 were inspired by this constitution and that it passed into the ideological armory of the Third Republic (founded 1870). It represents a fundamental historical document, that contributed much to the later democratic institutions and developments.

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  1. ^ Crowe, Michael Bertram. 1977. The Changing Profile of the Natural Law. p. 243
  2. ^ Gupta, Madan Gopal. 1963. Government of the Fifth Republic of France. p. 16
  3. ^ Pertue, M., "Constitution de 1793," in Soboul, A., Ed. "Dictionnaire historique de la Revolution francaise," p. 283, Quadrige/PUF, Paris: 2005.
  4. ^ Kennedy, M. L. "The Jacobin Clubs in the French Revolution: 1793–1795," p. 53. Berghahn Books, New York: 2000.

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