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The people of France help the Americans get their very own brand new form of (non-monarchy centered) government and think, "Wait, why do we still have this lousy king of France?"
So they start a revolution and write the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen outlining the philosophy behind their drive to create some kind of government where (male) citizens can have a voice.
They dream big and list a bunch of stuff they think the French government should be protecting (like security and property) and subtly imply that they current king is doing none of those things. And, oh yeah: this doc borrows super-heavily from American ideas and enlightened thinkers.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen was a colossal failure, which led directly to the Reign of Terror and the coup of Napoleon Bonaparte; it should go down in history as a botched attempt at liberty.
More so than even the American documents it was based on, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen is a watershed moment in human history because it boldly declares that all governments must be accountable to the people.
France was blowing up, the revolution was underway, and it was time to figure out what people wanted to get out of it. Nothing makes a revolution legit like a good declaration of rights.
The National Assembly took a bold step and declared that all of France's problems are the result of its shady government. But never fear, because they've also taken the liberty of listing the rights that the government should be recognizing as well as defining a few key terms that the current French leader (ahem, the king) don't seem to understand.
They list seventeen articles that contain such gems as asserting that all men are created equal and have a right to free speech, religion, and a representative government that will decide on taxes and laws. Just so as there's no confusion, they explain what they mean by sovereignty, liberty, law and other tricky legal terms that Louis or his advisors might try to finagle later.
The royal family has sunk France neck-deep in an unfortunate mess, so it's time to spell things out for them: people have rights that even you have to respect.