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France Becomes a Constitutional Monarchy

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France Becomes a Constitutional Monarchy - Lesson Summary

So the recognition of the National Assembly by King Louis and him agreeing to their demands was a victory for the entire Third Estate.
In 1791, the National Assembly completed the draft of the constitution. As per the new constitution, France became a constitutional monarchy with the King, or the Executive, having to share power with the legislature and the Judiciary.
Only men who were older than 25 years and who paid taxes were allowed to vote. The constitution commenced with the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
It stated that the right to life, to freedom of speech, to freedom of opinion and to equality before the law were intrinsic to all human beings.
Visual symbols were used to share the message to the uneducated and illiterate people:
  • The broken chains stood for freedom
  • The blue white and red symbolized the national colours of France
  • The Red Phrygian cap was a sign of freedom and was worn by slaves when they became free
  • The all seeing eye stood for knowledge
  • The self devouring snake indicated eternity
  • The bundle of rods of fasces indicated strength in unity
  • The winged woman stood for the law
  • The sceptre was a symbol of royal power
  • The tablet also known as the law tablet signified equality
All women and children, and men who did not fall into the category of active citizens, were termed passive citizens, and were denied the right to vote.
The preamble to the constitution of 1791 consisted of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. These rights included the rights to life, the freedom of speech, the freedom of opinion and equality before the law.


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