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what_is_the_third_estate

what_is_the_third_estate

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EMMANUEL-IOSEPH SIEYES

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BIOGRAPHICA.L NOTE

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ment. A founder-member with condorcet of the r7g9 society, he remained at the centre of revolutionary developments, helping to aruft the new constitution, devising the Tennis court oath with Mounier, supporting the nationalisation of church Property and joining forces with Mirabeau against the attempted coup by the court against the Assembly. Robespierre,s triumph over the Girondins led to his withdrawar from active poriiics for a time, and it was not ultil March ryg5 that he re-entered the poritical arena as a member of the cdmmittee of pubric safety to support regisration against further insur_ reltjon, and help prepare the ry95 constitution. Having inaugurated the Revolution, si6yds was to be a key prayer in its termination' By May ry99 he was a member of the precarious Directory. convinced of the need for further constitutionar reform in the face of con_ tinuing instability and resurgent lacobinism, he collaborated with Napoleon in the coup of 9-roNovember rygg bgtg Brumaire, y.., VIII), and joined Napoleon as one of the three members of the provisional consulate.

a Nationar Assembly with integrated orders, possibry his most important,.single political achieve_

in May ry89 as a deputy in the Estates-General,ln.which capacity, in effect, he inaugurated the Revolution with his appeal to the representariu., or the Third Estate on 17 lune rygg b transform the
Estates-General

organised state institutions. strongry influenced by Bonnet,s views on naturar harmony and the'order of things', and by the thought of condillac and Locke on inequarity and sovereignty, si6yes' work signars a significant turning-point in politicar though-t with regard to the basi-c aims and organisation of modern nation states. si6yds' fame as a political polemicist led io his election

for

Emmanuel-Ioseph si6yds (ry+B-t816) was an ordained priest and church administrator who first rose to prominence in parisian political circles in 1788 as a writer of uncompromisingry radicar revolutionary tracts. His writings crystallise the poritical ideorogy of the first, pre-Terror stage of the French Revolution, and provide a luminous exposition of the theoretical case

the defeat of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbons, Si6yds, accused of regicide, went into a long exile in Brussels, not returning to France until r83o. His shadow thus falls across most of the events that destroyed the ancien rtgime, and his political writings and activities reflect France's transition from absolute monarchy to a republic. Despite his remarkable career, relatively little is known about Si6ybs. An archetypal grey eminence, he remains a deeply ambiguous, mysterious and still controversial figure, masked rather than illuminated by his centre-stage public role. During the Revolution he enjoyed enormous prestige and a towering reputation as the incarnation of victory over France's feudal past, By substituting the sovereignty of the nation for that of the King, and by equating the nation's cause with that of the third estate, Si6yds in a sense made the Revolution. What is the third estatei was written in NovemberDecember 1788, and published in fanuary 1789.

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representative government

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democraticaily

EDITORIAL NOTE

The base text. for the present translation is that of the third edition of Qu'est-ce que le tiers 6tat? (rzsq). This is the text printed in Jean-Denis Bredin's edition of Qu'est-ce que le tiers 6tat? (Paris, Flammarion, 1988). Si6yds' annotations have not been included in the extract.
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into

READING

Campbell, P., 'Si6yds and What is the third estate?', in What is the third estate?, ed. and trdns. by M. Blondel and S. Finer (London, Pall Mall Press, 1963), pp. 3-3r. Forsyth, M., Reason and Revolution: the political thought of the abbt,sityis (New York, Leicester University Press, tg}).
Sewell, W., A rhetoric of bourgeois revolution: the abbt Si4yds and What is the third estatel (Durham, N.C., Duke University Press, tgg4).

What is the third estate? (V8g)
'As long as the philosopher does not go beyond the bounds of truth, do not accuse too far. His function is to show us the goal; so he must tfirstl reach it. If he stopped and dared to raise his signpost hatf way there, it might mislead us. The duty of the administrator, in contrast, is to think out the path ahead and inch forward with due regard to the nature of the dfficulties . . , If the philosopher has reached

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him of going

After

492
493

that the nobility has privileges and exemptions it dares to call its rights that are separate from the rights of the main body of citizens. Actually. Yet the Third Estate need not 4. fear going back to the past. if the fathers of the Third Estate are the fathers of the whole nation. what remains to be done for the Third take up the place that is its due . rights which belong to everyone. does not know where he is going. We shall examine neither the servitude in which the people have suffered for so long. henceforth I think. since it does not derive its powers from the people. but truer. Its civil status is absolutely impossible for the nation as a whole. What has it been so far in the political order? 3. - Nothing. If the aristocrats seek to keep the people in a state of oppression at the expensJ of that very freedom of which they have proved themselves to be unworthy. the people may well ask on what grounds.conquered. you but the private one. z.ly. more social sense of self-interest? q 495 . Thus its private rights already make the nobility into a separate people. can we not hope one day to see an end to this prolonged parricide that one class prides itself on committing day after day on everybody else? Why should not reason and justice. its powers of resistance will no doubt be more effective. And finally. or even for any separate order. What does it ask to be? . It We shall see if these are the right answers. the Welches and other savages from the woods and bogs of Old Germania? Yes. then purged. and those that must lstill] be taken. if people insist on distinguishing between one lineage and another. But if all the races are mixed up. lWhat is the third estate? r: 'The Third Estate is the complete nation'] The plan of this work is quite simple. have tried Estate so that 5. It has its own representatives without any mandate from the people.Something. it must change still more. to be free. The Third Estate will become noble again by being a conqueror in its turn. back to the forests of Franconia? it can The nation. r. We have three questions to ask ourselves. The Third Estate thus contains everything proper to the nation. We do not get our freedom from privileges. What ministers to do in the interests of the Third Estate. be able to live with the thought that What is a nation? A body of people who join together to live under common laws and be represented by the same legislative assembly. and those who do not belong to the Third Estate cannot be seen as part of the nation. but conquest has upset all the old relationships. it would be wrong to say that these truths have been exaggerated when you have not yet seen the supporting evidence. mingles with the blood of the Gauls. The nobility is alien to the nation. its representative function would still be fundamentally distinct and separate. and what the privileged themselves propose to do for it. not the general interest. nor the restrictions and humiliations which still constrain it. for the Third Estate to actually become something. and as it is strong enough nowadays not to allow itself to be .It is only too clear. Next we shall examine the measures that have been tried. Its corps of deputies sits separate. could we not reveal to our poor fellow citizens that a lineage going back to the Gauls and the Romans is worth no more than one going back to the Sicambrians. 6. secondly from the standpoint of its objectives since these involve defending. it does not belong to the common order. What should have been done. Why should it not send all those families with a wild claim to be descendants of a race of conquerors' and to have inherited the right of conquest. these also it exercises separately. It will take itself back to the year preceding the 'conquest'. isn't it. and hereditary noble status is now passed on down the line of conquerors. a nation within a nation.the goal. and even if it should sit in the same chamber as the deputies of ordinary citizens. Meanwhile. Thus we shall state: will agree that this means going back in time a bit. will. As a consequence of these special rights. . you has changed. Very well. if the Third Estate is not. What is 494 might say. What is the Third Estate? - Everything. if the blood of the Franks. If the answer is 'by right of conquest'. press the privileged to seek their rehabilitarion within the order of the Third Estate by means of a new. firstly from the standpoint of principle. which has no more value in itself than any other. arrartgements must be made for it to descend down the other line.. If the administrator cannot see the goal. he the Third Estate? Everything. but from our rights as citizens. he does not know where he is. It really is a case of imperium in imperio. With regard to its political rights. which one day will be as strong a force as vanity. it was just composed of descendants of the Gauls and the Romans. [nor is it subject to] the common law.

q ii ]:: l. the Third Estate. he is no longer part of the common order. On the contrary. justice not to be able to find a more nationally based way of achieving and maintaining whatever level of military capability you might wish to have. However. [they] are an exception to the common law. who until 'd . the nature of things.. and although the general view is to rank them within the Third Estate. since me to want to diminish the strength or dignity of the Third it is always associated in my mind with [my] idea qf a nation. What is an unprivileged wretch to do to avoid being completely crushed? His only recourse is to attach himself in various contemptible ways to some great man.fr f!. sets them indubitably apart from the common order. should the need arise. i:] a. tr i* iFr . Third Estate to hand its destiny over to its enemies. Let us see what the Third F.' from representing the Third Estate..$ . H s 2r 5i #: tl. or because they were not elected by the whole of the Third Estate in the towns and rural areas entitled to representation.? This incontrovertible principle similarly prevents those with temp orary privil496 *i 5v >: (i Lf at'.li A whatever our motives. yesterday. only opinion distifguishes them one from another..n . . ti {. is contrary to the common law. it cannot be ovbrstated. all nobles are equal.state amounts to in. Far be it from { . this observation should not be separated from the following one: the abolition of privileges within the Third Estate does not mean the loss of those immunities that some of its members enjoy as rewards.the Estates_General.would affect our ability to satisfr a public requirement.i to the common interest. either because they were never elected at all. these so-called deputies of the Third Estate. So the new nobility are relegated to the Third Estate. + st '. and the law has nothing to say about them. We must take the Third Estate to mean all citizens belonging to the common order.' 497 . As we have said already. representation of the people is considered to be a right enjoyed by [the holder ofl certain positions or offices. L.F. They all have the same privileges.l i: hl il. I would answer that any public requirement is necessarily the responsibility of everyone. but its restitution. All those holding legal privileges. Besides. The old aristocracy cannot stand the new. can we turn what is true into what is not true? Iust because an army has been unfortunate enough to be deserted by its best troops. He sells his morals and his dignity as a human being in order to buy the possibility of protection from a somebody.!. creates a class that is different from. His new interest is opposed to the general interest. in the eyes of the law. insult and humiliation.1 of whatever kind. These false deputies have not always even resulted from a free election by the people. there is no reason why it should submit to a prejudice that runs counter to the law.P q '4 :. These immunities are nothing but common rights.. I would point out that there is nothing in this truth to alarm the friends of the people. are outside the common order. amounts to a thoughtless attempt to weaken that order by depriving it of its most enlightenedf courageous and respected members? i: ii 3I ' i-. and opposed to. but also those with merely temporary ones. to which i. and if the objection is made that making certain privileges available to all . always still entrust to these tloops the defence of its camp? All privilege. Sometimes in the Estates-General. and that you must be deaf to all reason as well as. in the provincial assemblies.. But '. or because of the fact that as privileged persons they were not even eligible [to stand]. they do not let the new nobility sit with them unless they can prove. What is for sure is that from the moment a citizen acquires privileges contrary to common law. which is stronger than both opinion and the law. without exception.:. If you do not have some sort of privilege to cling to you must resign yourself to enduring all manner of contempt. So I am not calling for the loss of a right. Who have been its so-called representatives? Those raised to the nobility or and almost Let us Pursue our theme.'1 Estate.I . But if the Third Estate is forced to Put up with a prejudice sanctioned by the law.s nobility just as much as those who succeed for better or for worse in concealing where they come from and what they have usurped. a common system of laws and a common form of representation is what makes one nation. But here we need to consider the order of the Third Estate more from the standpoint of its relationship to the constitution than from that of its civil status. : Sreyes: What s the thrrd estate( 4!. it takes us back to the higher national interest by making us feel strongly the need to suppress immediately all temporary privileges which divide the Third Estate. Let them create as many new nobles as they like. as the saying goes. and in consequence do not belong to the Third Estate. At the same time. and which would appear to force the they clearly no longer belong. Their interest i's also more or less contrary ii: t: . not balloting for militia service . should it :.. Thus.for example. not just of a separate class of citizens. !. tr i. eges :il i. Will it be said that the wish to exclude from the Third Estate.four generations plus a hundred years'.: 'L fi Y Y: 'rn those with temporary privileges.li .. il . He is unfit to vote in the name of the people.|': ii f. Thus all privilege. No doubt it is only too true that in France you are nothing if you are protected only by common law. not only those with hereditary privileges. It was grossly unjust to deprive the greater part of the people of them.{ 542 +J I* g til .

Army and Law. which through its members seizes on everything I have seen. and to think that people say the aristocracy is just trol over every essential aspect of public life. that it is a great mistake to think that France is governed as a monarchy' In the annals of our history. The Third Estate demands thirdly therefore that votes be counted by heads and not by orders. it has no hope of emerging from its state of political non-existence. Feelings of brotherhood or comradeship of some sort make nobles always prefer each other to the rest of the nation. Thus its political rights have been non-existe nt. However. that is to say deputies drawn be the eternal victim. by comparison with is the the enlightened views of students of the social order. every branch of the executive has fallen into the hands of the caste that supplies the church. have never really had a mandate from the people. in one way or another. are they not brought up with a superstitious. if you make an exception for a see. not only.ir. and a few moments during Louis XIV's reign. True. it demands that the number of its representatives be equal to that of become a complete illusion the two other orders put together. and you to hear complaints about the triple aristoof Church. so in their muted complaints.now have been sitting in the Estates-General.r. the least thing possible. but the influence of the privileged orders will continue to dominate Estate's demand are not an illusion! To sum up' so far the Third Estate has not had any true representatives in the Estates-General. it wants to have genuine representatives in dre from its own order. and of Richelieu. few years during the reign of Louis XI. and so on. they reign over us in every sense.to be honest. but also with that mass of common ideas that forms public opinion. the posts and liviirgs needs protection? And which side has the power to protect? In that thought alone there is something to make the friends of the people to hand out? Which side tremble. could it ask for less? And is less than equal.J 498 in the Third Estate's own inner sanctum. against reason. Read your history to check whether or not this statement fits the facts. this equality of representation would if each chamber had its own separate vote. I would say. What do we see in these demands? That the people want to be something . The outcome of this terrible struggle is still unclear. The modest objective of the Third Estate is to have an influence in the EstatesGeneral equal to that of the privileged orders. This is what these demands that have apparently set off alarm bells among the privileged orders boil down to. You can only make a judgment on the authentic petitions of the Third Estate through the formal demands which the great municipalities of the kingdom have addressed to the govirnment. The usurpation is total. But what would be the use of [the Third EstateJ participating in the Estates-General if interests hostile to its own were to predominate? All it would do is sanction by its presence an oppression of which it would Estates-General. First. has created posts and filled them. justice' the people. total con- of abuses was becoming indispensable. it will gain an equal number of representatives drawn from within its own ranks. able to interpret its wishes and defend its interests. And what is the court but the head of this vast aristocracy overrunning the whole of France. the people has become used to distinguishing the monarch and .. I repeat. 499 . then surely it is precisely this that makes the Estates-General. people seem surprised The demands of the Third Estate must not be judged from the isolated observations of certain writers with some inklings of the rights of man. Add to this awful truth the fact that. when it was a matter of despotism pure and simple. not the monarch. you will think you are reading the history of a palaceautocracy. So it certainly cannot go and cast its vote in the EstatesGeneral unless it exerted an influence at least equal to that of the privileged orders. Secondly. [What is the third estate? z: 'what has the Third Estate been until now? Nothing. and of becoming something? The unhappy truth of the matter is that the three articles constituting the Third is it not clear that if its influence fighting simultaneously in fact enough to give it that essential equality of influence. into a true aristocrary. They like to think that this is just a manner of speaking. If the Estates-General cracy Sometimes. isolated. is it not enough p open people's eyes to what is happening around us at this very moment? What do you see? The aristocracy. has appointed ministers and dismissed them. They thought that for this reason alone the reform from those who exercise power' It has always looked upon the King as a man so thoroughly deceived and so defenceless in the midst of an active. It is the court that reigns.*. the minister and the King. Finally. Who has the offices. The court has made and the court has unmade. but the phrase must be taken literally. as will interpreter of the general will. in as much as it is just a clerical-noble-judicial assembly. and has legislative power in that capacity. \ As for those unprivileged [citizens] who seem by their talents to be best fitted to uphold the interests of their order. the Law and the Army with their members. The Third Estate is still very backward in this respect. all_powerful court that it has never thought of blaming him for all the evil that is done in his name.

I in defence of prejudices? The boldest champions of the aristocracy are to be found within the Third Estate. in order to belong genuinely or you must completely either you must be untainted by privileges of any sort. It said: 'We shall put our sons in the Commons' Third Estate'' is an excellent idea to charge us with representing the always forthcoming' once the mind is made up. and I do not condemn iU but you will agree that this is yet another advantage to the privileged.'All new nobles. as large a crowd of commoners as he wants? Work out the consequences and repercu$ions of this primary influence. In rural communities. and of the feudal superstition still debasing most minds. We read that among ancient peoples children were trained to expect their food only after they had performed some strenuous or skilful exercise. the orders when it is to itself. who are as greedy for money. however. my argument 500 501 . it is legitimate to push its congoes like this: If the sequences to the limit. insist in the teeth 'The nobility wants nothbeing part of the Estates-General. But let us examine the pretexts for such odious hostility. they set off down false paths. less social kind of education.The old custommust be maintained" people said . and immediatelY relinquish them' door that for some reason Lawyers. among those endowed at birth with plenty of intelligence but very little soul.to make a distinction between third. which calls but it knows how to not have the same stake in the preservation of this abuse. if only we could ing to do with us. Municipalities have been too ready to believe that they could be sheltered from the influence of the privilege by just precluding privileged people from representing the people. does noblemen as deputies. . what a good idea . that would be wonderful. and then keep calm. Over and above the empire of the aristocracy. power and pats on the back from the great as they are incapable of understanding the value of freedom. fell over out undermining our pretensions. as you well know. An excellent custom which' has so far positively preintended to ensure representation for the Third Estate. They tell themselves: Estate. in such matters. When we witness such conduct. and everywhere else in fact. and when personal effort cannot advance them by honest means. are . and to bring them the advantage of the two first orders and bad luck on the first two and harmful to togetheras soon as it becomes even more useful to the and what a good custom it is to preserve that which allows clerics the nation! good faith. reasons. It was a way of making them excel FIRST DEMAND That the representatives of the Third Estate be chosen only from among those citizens who really belong to the Third Estate. if you can. The old nobility. In fact. . With us. how can we fail to fear that those qualities most suited to the defence of the national interest are being prostituted to the Third Estate' We have atready explained that. The more you consider this issue. using this method. a less honourable. it must exercise the one. and that the fear that it lends powerful support to the privileged against the Third Estate is justified. about the effect on voting in an assembly that to your eyes is far removed from those first electoral colleges lcomitias]. Men are constantly preoccupied with the improvement of their fortunes. but just as effective. even as they stand. whatever Estate must be able to elect themselves to rePeat in the same spirit that the Third itself the true nobility. This [influence] is a natural thing. who have attained noble status through a of all opposition on they have decided to close behind them. the cleverest people in the Third Estate are obliged to practise flattery and devote themselves to the service of the powerful to get what they need. but which for all that is still just a combination of those early forms. so on the whole'it do its sums. there is the influence of property. there any reasonably popular lord who does not have at his beck and call. which controls everything in France. is always ready to sacrifice everything to the fruits it imagines it will gain from being lucky enough to find favour.obligatory respect for the nobility? We know how easily meo generally adapt to whatever form of behaviour might be useful to them. Estate has its political cluded it from being represented! The order of the Third as it must the other' by rights as it has its civil rights. would [the privilnobles to take over the Chamber of Deputies! In all could invade their eged] think themselves well represented if the Third Estate corps of dePuties? To demonstrate the flaw \ in a principle. By this means' we their origins. we want nothing to do with the Third but we cannot' What shall we form a separate order. is abuse by which the Third do? There is nothing for it but to maintain the old shall satisfy our desires withEstate elected nobles as deputies. This unhappy part of the nation has come to resemble a huge antechamber which. the more you perceive the inadequacy of the Third Estate's three demands. they have been strongly attacked. constantly preoccupied with what its masters are saying or doing. if he so wishes.

too accustomed to ruling imperiously over the people. I am hoping that since enlightenment must eventually have an effect. that still survives to France's misfortune. Besides. we must not allow those members of the Third Estate who are under the exclusive domination of the first two orders to be charged with the trust of the commons. it is because it is a bad principle. . line of reasoning clearer. Venice and others would choose their plenipotentiaries from among the Barbary pirates? Or name of freedom being defiled in order to conceal those designs most hostile to it. do so in bad faith. for a beggar or a foreigner 502 Following on from these principles. must be precluded from representing them. Suppose that France is at war with England. like anyone else. each the enemy of the other. do you think that Genoa. All would be lost if the representatives of feudalism managed to usurp the right to serve as deputies representing the common order. It is to the odious remnants of this barbarous regime that we still owe the division [of France] into three orders. we all know about the usual scheming. of their numerous agents. So. that the clergy alone could represent the whole nation? I go further: after having just worked on the assumption that all three estates chose deputies from a single order. the law must determine the age below which one would not be competent to represent one's fellow citizens. since it affects in particular officers of all feudal courts. therefore. as does individual civil liberty. If the question arose of [establishing] a general diet of maritime peoples to regulate the freedom and safety of the seas. Is it then for the sake of the people's freedom that you make it possible to violate and betray its trust? It is appalling to hear the sacred might not have interests contrary to those of the Third Estate. whereas nobles and clerics are. We all know that servants seem to be more ruthless and bold in [pursuingJ the interests of their masters than the masters are themselves. or potential for it. First. or anyone dependent upon a master. I ask you this: would we let the provinces. I offer this hypothesis. women are everywhere excluded that a law allowing rich pirates to buy or bribe voters in Genoa would be a good one? I do not know if that comparison is an exaggeration or not. Would a servant. Now. and that everything to do with the conduct of the war is controlled by a Directory made up of national representatives.i. . The only question is whether the regulation relating to non-eligibility of members of the privileged orders demanded by the Third Estate has as much priority as any of the others I have mentioned. for example. of representation of this kind. on the grounds of nog infringing their freedom. Because of their dependency the feeling is that they are not trustworthy. In no circumstances can a freedom or a right be unlimited. the possibility arises of having an assembly consisting of members drawn from one order only. In these circumstances. the lords will surely use the influence they can no longer use directly themselves. Leghorn. let us now assume that all of the citizens elect a single individual to represent them? Will you maintain that a single individual could replace the Estates-General? Whenever the consequences of a principle lead to absurdities. but here necessity has priority over all else . or a non-naturalised foreigner be admitted to the ranks of the nation's representatives? Political liberty. My second answer is blunt. to the advantage of those in their service. To make my. or from among those in their closest confidence. in accordance with fair play and the nature of things. or to be eligible for election. Would you accept. unless there is a formal excltrsion. Of course electors must be left completely free. We all know about the sovereignty of lords over peasants and other country people. any comparison works in the Third Estate's favour. this would compromise their freedom. So the restriction demanded by the Third Estate is the most important of all the conditions which the law. choose as their deputies to the Directory members of the English cabinet? The privileged orders certainly seem to be no less the enemies of the common order than the English of the French in time of war. It is also said that if the choice before electors was limited. aristocrats will one day cease to resemble France's [ownJ Algerian pirates. It is an unquestioned fact that a tramp or a beggar cannot be charged with the political trust of nations.members of the three orders are prepared to elect whomsoever they wish. a\ 503 . rightly or wrongly. I draw your attention in particular to the many agents of feudal power. I select another. Thus any lord wanting to influence the first round of elections can generally get himself sent as a depu{ to a bailiwick where it just remains to choose [a candidate] from among the lords themselves. and I can prove it. In every country the law has prescribed certain conditions which qualifr people to be either electors. I know that this proscription would cover a lot of people. must prescribe for the selection of deputies. including their law officers. and this is precisely why all those privileged orders. Thus. for example. but to my mind it clarifies what I have to say. from po*. From among the illustrations that proliferate and swirl around in my head. by their very status. has its limits. well disposed towards the privileges from which they profit. those who raise it. I have two answers to that so-called difficulty.

the vast [numericalJ superiority of the third order over the first two is well known. In total. They would have encountered less dif. the population and tax revenue of poitou are much higher than that of Gex. Nobody has dared be so unreasonable in respect of another sort of increase that has taken place in France.General under Philip the Fair.r-n . you must go back to first principles. principles.a few loyal cities was enough to form a Chamber of Commons in the Estates. new sources of tax revenue and a new population just as much as new territory does? So why. Political rights. Every society must be . I refer to the new provinces united with France since the last session of the Estates-General. and draw your own conclusions. they will be surprised at the lack of substance in the arguments used against iU and even more surprised by the brazen effrontery of those who were bold enough to dig those excuses up. when this kind of increase is easily compared to that of territory. they ought at the very least to be rare ones. but equally incontrovertible. and there can never be any question of the exception having the same weight and influence in public life as the norm. everyone exercises it equally' just as everyone has equal protection under the law that they have agreed to make' How can you argue on the one hand that the law is the expression of the general will. I repeat..regulated by common laws and be subject to a common order. bailiwick of poitou to have in the Estates-Generat than the tiny bailiwick of Gex? Why . and his representation cannot be a fraction of I must repeat once more: the feeble inadequacy of this demand is still redolent of the old days' Towns in this kingdom have not taken the progress of enlightenment' and even of public opinion. This legal property is the same for everyone regardless of the amount of real property making up the wealth or income enjoyed by each individual' Any citizen fulfilling the conditions prescribed for becoming an elector has the right to be represented. that is to say of the plurality. I do not know what 504 Is the nature of things.:tives ls that( 'Becluse. not encouraged this same authority to create two new chambers in favour of the Third Estate? |ustice and sound politics alike require it. The very people who invoke the authority of facts against the Third Estate could read in those facts a rule for their own conduct. In a few years time. Why has this dual growth. . your will or custom off as reasons. like civil rights. Compare that figure with a twenty-five to twenty-six million total population. as happens so often. and rural areas have presented us with a large population of new citizens. just pass your wish€s. what's more' when you want to decide a question like this. sufficiently into account. If you make exceptions to that. why. public-spirited men. they say. so much greater than that of those loyal cities of earlier times. the real proportion is. Nobody would dare to claim that these new provinces should have no representatives over and above those already in the Estates-General of 1614. To get the same answer on the basis of different. but like anybody else I can do my sums . if they were honest with themselves. Do you want taxation to be the basis? Although we do not know precisely what the respective tax contribution of the different orders is. Thus principles are being accepted which o. If these principles. you must not." determine the ratio of representatives. The existence of. fighting so noisily today.ficulties by asking for two votes to one. .SECOND DEMAND OF THE THIRD ESTATE That the number of its deputies be equal to that of the two privileged orders. seem to be derived too much from common ideas' I bring the reader back to a comparison right in front of his nose.:. . a multitude of new classes with large numbers of prosperous families full of well-educated. Since then. when pdople come to look back on all the obstacles blocking this all too modest demand of the Third Estate. .T::. Towns have multiplied and grown."" . This right is indivisible. and perhaps then people would have rushed to offer them the very equality over which people are it not true that everyone finds it fair for citizens what exceptions are to the law. let us take the view that the privileged orders are to the great mass of the nug. do people refuse to accord it extra representatives in addition to those in the 1614 Estates-General? q 505 . feudal servitude has disappeared. the Third Estate obviously b. must derive from the status of being a citizen. and claim on the other that ten individual wills can cancel out a thousand other individual wills? Do we not then run the risk of having the law made by a minority? This is obviously contrary to someone else's representation. It is really insane to treat the interests of these exceptions as somehow balancing out those of the great mass of the people .urc more than half of the burden As far as population is concerned. Commerce and the arts have created. But don't manufactures and the arts create new riches. Like everybody else. as it were. there are less than two hundred thousand privileged persons in the first two orders.1:1tf.1". certain as they are.

. we from it are allowed to retain the veto' Justice would wouldhave.o demand follows on as the logical consequence of the other two. No' or by orders' In whatever ratio you cannot vote together alall. Let us give them something to think about that might touch them more closely. part of what had been stolen from it by the offence [committed] against it by those who were stronger. but in vain . Is it appropriate for today's nobility to hang on to the language and attitudes of the gothic age? Is it appropriate for the Third Estate. and this shadow is still trying to terrifr a whole nation. Instead of demanding its rights back. and it has acquiesced in their purchase. in accordance with the interests of the privileged. of . to stagnate in the sad. in the course of this long process of change. at the end of the eighteenth century. they professed some excellent truths' in this situation it is be completely powerless. and so they declare it to be unconstitutional.i THIRD AND FINAL DEMAND OF THE THIRD ESTATE That the Estates-General should vote. there is no point in adding l*hu. whereas before it was a shadow. It must not forget that today it constitutes a reality in the nation. that it is time to stand up and because of the fri'rrilg. will If we keep to true principles' they vote by heads? That is the real point. either by heads aim .that is' to bind the whole divide them . qnless votes are the worst thing to go wrong' because could not be recognised.x But I am using reason against people who can listen only to the voice of their own self-interest. As far as the first is concerned. and lastly in the light of sound principles. Certainly.IWatisthe to be? something') third estate?3: 'what does the Third Estate ask \ 5c6 5a7 .unless this nation wants to be regarded as the vilest on earth.pr.andsayloudtyandclearlywhatistrueandjust. which had been reduced to nothing. and in accordance with principles order' we shall the science of social accordance with those principles that form that the demand of the Third Estate' maintain see this question in a new light. turning the most firmly intention' They wished simply to loyal towns of the kingdom of having had that least a balance between distance of their rights by asking for at .tobeentirelydependentonthesheergenerosityoftheprivileged. the three orders be able to unite to the way in which they are constituted. they are hardly There are certainly abuses in France. has already been said.. the nobility has ceased to be the monstrous feudal power that could oppress with impunity. The privileged orders fear the third order having equality of influence. not by orders. but by heads. This behaviour is all the more remarkable for the fact that until now they have been two against one without finding anything unconstitutional in that unjust advantage. These they are particularly harmful to it' Now' I advantageous to the Third Estate.a orders [and nobody takeadecision. has regained. it can take possession of them. get within striking Moreover. it has consented to pay for them. given the raw would be completery nuilified. I accepted without put forward by the privileged orders' cannot be or the defence accusing the held ideas tn their head' I am certainly not t . in one way or another. This question can be approached in three ways: from the standpoint of the Third Estate.r. we must get them to admit that the current else]. But in the end. clearly the Third Estate thinks that this anything . I will not repeat the reasons used by a score of writers to combat this pretentious argument in the two factions with influence.Is that what our idea of social order should be? of all special interIf we now want to look at the same question independently in designed to illuminate it' that is to sav ests. [and] that. over the others amounts to the for it is quite clear that one order's right of veto where interests are so different right to bring everything to a standstill in a country counted by heads' the true majority and so opposed. They feel very deeply the need to retain the veto over anything that could be against their interest. cowardly habits of the old servitude? If the Third Estate recognised and respected itself. then others would surely respect it too! People should note that the old relationship between the orders has been changed simultaneously on both sides. and that would be These truths are indisputable. The Third Estate.. It is the nobility that is now no more than the shadow of what it was.ntatives together by a singlecommon will' those moderelaboration and proof ' ' ' I have no wish to displease needs [further] come out at the wrong moment' First ates who always fear that the truth should situation has come about only of all. they have not been restored to the Third Estate but sold back to it. but profit possible to end any abuse while those who ask whether . through its industry. it cannot achieve the intended This statement no doubt u"a. But. have just one observation to make' support of the old way of doing things' I abuses profit someone.

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