Prior to the French Revolution, most of France’s inhabitants lacked basic human rights such as political representation and economic freedom; power was held largely in the hands of the king, aristocracy, and clergy. The French Revolution is important because it helped establish the idea of human rights, Lynn Hunt asserts in the following viewpoint. Hunt explains that French legislators were influenced by British and American documents, including the 1689 English Bill of Rights and Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. According to Hunt, the French belief in individual...
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