Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

J. McManners, The French Revolution and the Church ( New York, 1969).

C. S. Phillips, The Church in France 1789-1848: A Study in Revival ( London, 1929), pp. 1- 149.


29
Decree on Protestant Liberty December 24, 1789

In one of its early acts the National Assembly gave application to the royal edict of 1787 and to the promises contained in its own Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen that "all citizens, being equal before (the law), are equally eligible to all public positions" (article 6), and that "no one shall be molested because of his opinions, even religious opinions, provided their expression does not disturb the public order established by law" (article 10). Jews, however, were not covered by the act, probably because of cautions arising from reports of the unpopularity of Alsatian Jews.

The National Assembly, without intending anything prejudicial to Jews, on whose position it reserves the right to declare, and in order that no reasons for exclusion, other than those resulting from constitutional decrees, may be opposed to the eligibility of any citizen, has decreed as follows:

1st, Non-Catholics who have completed all the conditions prescribed in the preceding decrees of the National Assembly for electors and eligibility may be elected to all government offices without exception; 2nd, Non-Catholics, like other citizens, are capable of all civil and military employment.

Source: Jean B. Duvergier (ed.), Collection complète des lois, décrets, ordonnances, règlements, avis du conseil d'état ( Paris, 1834- 1906), I, 89.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

B. M. Baird, The Huguenots and the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes ( New York, 1895), II, 550-570.

G. Bonet-Maury, Histoire de la liberté de conscience en France depuis l'Édit de Nantes jusqu'à juillet 1870 ( Paris, 1900), pp. 88-96.

J. Dedieu, Histoire politique des protestants français (1715-1794) ( Paris, 1925).

B. C. Poland, French Protestantism and the French Revolution, 1685-1815 ( Princeton, 1957).


30
Decree Suppressing Monastic Vows February 13, 1790

French monasticism was in decline before the Revolution, and some congregations had already been dissolved. This decree occasioned little protest, and many monks reentered civil life.

-76-

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