Would you agree with the view that the message of universal rights was beset with contradictions? Explain
The message of universal rights was beset with contradictions. Many ideals in the “Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen” were replete with dubious meanings. For example, “the law has the right to forbid only actions injurious to society” had nothing to say about criminal offences against other individuals. Also, the declaration stated that “law is the expression of the general will. All citizens have the right to participate in its formation…All citizens are equal before it”, but when France became a constitutional monarchy, almost 3 million citizens including men under the age of 25 and women were not allowed to vote at all. This was in striking contrast to the ideals that the revolution espoused. When the Jacobins came to power, they were welcomed, but their policies were too harsh and this gave way yet again to the rise of the wealthier middle classes. The political instability of these regimes finally led to the rise of Napoleon. However, throughout these coups, ideals of freedom, equality and fraternity remained paramount in the French political movement.