What is the significance of the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" in history?

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One major significance of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was that it was one of the first European governing documents to apply the concepts of the Enlightenment to the governing of a country. This document shifted the source of political authority in France from a system based on privilege and inheritance to one based on the concept of universal natural rights and democracy. France, as well as much of the rest of the world at the time, had never extended equal political rights to such a large segment of the population. This would go on to inspire subsequent movements elsewhere in the coming decades.

Prior to the ratification of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, France had been governed by the whims of monarchs who wielded near-absolute power. The vast majority of the population had almost no rights and were subject to frequent abuse by nobles and the Church. This documented was a watershed moment for the nation as it enumerated the rights of the...

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