The representatives of the French people, constituted into a "National Assembly," considering that ignorance, forgetting or contempt of the rights of man are the sole causes of public misfortunes and of the corruption of governments, are resolved to expose [i.e., expound], in a solemn declaration, the natural, inalienable and sacred rights of man, so that that declaration, constantly present to all members of the social body, points out to them without cease their rights and their duties; so that the acts of the legislative power and those of the executive power, being at every instant able to be compared with the goal of any political institution, are very respectful of it; so that the complaints of the citizens, founded from now on on simple and incontestible principles, turn always to the maintenance of the Constitution and to the happiness of all.
In consequence, the "national Assembly" recognizes and declares, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen:
Article I - Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be founded only on the common utility.
Article II - The goal of any political association is the conservation of the natural and imprescriptible [i.e., inviolable] rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, safety and resistance against oppression.
Article III - The principle of any sovereignty resides essentially in the Nation. No body, no individual can exert authority which does not emanate expressly from it.
Article IV - Liberty consists of doing anything which does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of each man has only those borders which assure other members of the society the enjoyment of these same rights. These borders can be determined only by the law.
Article V - The law has the right to ward [i.e., forbid] only actions [which are] harmful to the society. Any thing which is not warded [i.e., forbidden] by the law cannot be impeded, and no one can be constrained to do what it [i.e., the law] does not order.
Article VI - The law is the expression of the general will. All the citizens have the right of contributing personally or through their representatives to its formation. It must be the same for all, either that it protects, or that it punishes. All the citizens, being equal in its eyes, are equally admissible to all public dignities, places and employments, according to their capacity and without distinction other than that of their virtues and of their talents.
Article VII - No man can be accused, arrested nor detained but in the cases determined by the law, and according to the forms which it has prescribed. Those who solicit, dispatch, carry out or cause to be carried out arbitrary orders, must be punished; but any citizen called [i.e., summoned] or seized under the terms of the law must obey at the moment; he renders himself culpable by resistance.
Article VIII - The law should establish only strictly and evidently necessary penalties, and no one can be punished but under a law established and promulgated before the offense and [which is] legally applied.
Article IX - Any man being presumed innocent until he is declared culpable, if it is judged indispensible to arrest him, any rigor [i.e., action] which would not be necessary for the securing of his person must be severely reprimanded by the law.
Article X - No one may be questioned about his opinions, [and the] same [for] religious [opinions], provided that their manifestation does not trouble the public order established by the law.
Article XI - The free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen thus may speak, write, print freely, save [if it is necessary] to respond to the abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law.
Article XII - The guarantee of the rights of man and of the citizen necessitates a public force [i.e., a police force]: this force is thus instituted for the advantage of all and not for the particular utility of those to whom it is confided.
Article XIII - For the maintenance of the public force and for the expenditures of administration, a common contribution is indispensable; it must be equally distributed between all the citizens, by reason of their faculties [i.e., ability to pay].
Article XIV - Each citizen has the right of noting, by himself or through his representatives, the necessity of the public contribution, of free consent, of following the employment [of the contributions], and of determining the quotient [i.e., the share], the assessment, the recovering [i.e., the collecting] and the duration.
Article XV - The society has the right of requesting [an] account[ing] from any public agent of its [i.e., the society's] administration.
Article XVI - Any society in which the guarantee of rights is not assured, nor the separation of powers determined, has not a bit of Constitution.
Article XVII - Property being an inviolable and sacred right, no one can be deprived of private usage, if it is not when the public necessity, legally noted, evidently requires it, and under the condition of a just and prior indemnity [i.e., compensation].
es:Declaración de los Derechos del Hombre y del Ciudadano fr:Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen pl:Deklaracja Praw Człowieka i Obywatela ru:Декларация прав человека и гражданина tr:İnsan ve Yurttaş Hakları Bildirisi