The Pursuit of Natural Rights

“Declaration of the Rights of Man and if the Citizen” is the definition of natural rights which the National Assembly gave during The French Revolution. The painting below is “prise de la bastille” which pictured the capture of the Bastille, one of the most important events of The French Revolution. Considering the policy of King Louis XVI’s government unbearable, ¬†French civilians decide to revolt the governing of King Louis XVI. This revolution is their pursuit of natural rights.

One of the goals of French civilians was to build a government according to Article 12 that “To guarantee the rights of man and the citizen requires a pubic force; this force is therefore instituted for the benefit of all, and not for the personal advantage of those to whom it is entrusted.” However, the French Revolution was not perfect. From 1793 to 1794, the Jacobins unleashed the Reign of Terror, and at least 16594 people had been executed for counter-revolutionary activities during this period. But this violation of the natural rights seemed necessary in that period because, to build a new bureaucratic system that protects redefined human rights, the old one must be destroyed. In this process, people who relied on the old system for a living would definitely be affected.

Then, there rises a question that in a country that has settled a bureaucratic system will the redefinition and pursuit of natural rights inevitably lead to violations of the natural rights of some people in this system? If so, isn’t that contradict Article 2? if not, how could the old system be destroyed without affecting people relying on it?

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