French Constitution of 1793

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The Republican Constitution of 1793

The French Constitution of 1793 , which was essentially drafted by Marie-Jean Hérault de Séchelles , Georges Couthon and Louis Antoine de Saint-Just , was a constitution of the First French Republic . It was passed by the National Convention on June 24, 1793 and passed by a large majority in a referendum on August 10, 1793 . It is the first republican constitution in France. It is considered extremely democratic , but never came into force.Instead, the Welfare Committee exercised a bloody reign of terror ( la grande Terreur ) from autumn 1793 to summer 1794 .


The basis of the constitution was the declaration of human and civil rights of August 26, 1789. The aim is “general happiness” on the basis of the natural and legal equality of all people. The following are key rights: Freedom , equality , security and property ("It means that everyone can own and dispose of his goods and his income, the results of his work and industry as he sees fit"). In addition, there is a right of resistance against arbitrary rule ("If the government violates the rights of the people, insurrection is the most sacred and unconditional obligation for the people and for every group of the people"). For the first time in the world there should be universal and equal suffrage (for men). In contrast to the constitution of 1791 , the electorate was to determine the composition of the National Assembly directly - without the interposition of electors.

The majority of the National Convention , which had initially approved the draft constitution, refused to allow the new constitution to come into force after the successful referendum and decided to keep the then provisional government as a revolutionary government. After the end of the reign of terror, France received the Directory Constitution in autumn 1795 with restricted voting rights.

Web links

  • Text of the French Constitution of 1793 in French and German