Revolution in France
When French revolutionaries wrote the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen in August 1789, they sought to end a monarchical society and inequality between social classes. Rooted in Enlightenment philosophy, the Declaration advocated a society built on legal and constitutional guarantees of individual liberties, ruled by a legislature of elected representatives. The availability of inexpensive paper allowed the government to disseminate new decrees and related content through pamphlets. Citizens also made use of pamphlets to circulate their views on the actions of the National Assembly, share discussions and sentiments of groups such as the Jacobians, and express individual political opinions.
The Library’s large collection of French Revolutionary pamphlets contains opinions both in favor of and against the National Assembly’s plans for a form of government as well as opinions on the role of religion and slavery in the new society.
A pamphlet titled Réflexions d'une dame: sur les droits de l'homme, by an anonymous and ostensibly female author, questions the effectiveness of a democratic government and supports a return to a monarchical government, claiming that it is easier for people to have one leader instead of many. The author argues that a monarch fills the role of a benevolent father, much like Abraham and other biblical figures.