The cahier of the Third Estate of Versailles (1789)


The following points were extracted from the cahier of the Third Estate in Versailles:


“1. The Power of making laws resides in the king and the nation.

2. The nation, being too numerous for a personal exercise of this right, has confided its trust to representatives freely chosen from all classes of citizens. These representatives constitute the national assembly.

3. Frenchmen should regard as laws of the kingdom those alone which have been prepared by the national assembly and sanctioned by the king…

5. The laws prepared by the States General and sanctioned by the king shall be binding upon all classes of citizens and upon all provinces of the kingdom They shall be registered literally and accurately in all courts of law. They shall be open for consultation at all seats of municipal and communal government; and shall be read at sermon time in all parishes…

10. Deputies of the Third Estate, or their president or speaker, shall preserve the same attitude and demeanour as the representatives of the two upper orders, when they address the sovereign. As regards the three orders there shall be no difference observed in the ceremonial made use of at the convocation of the estates.

11. Personal liberty, proprietary rights and the security of citizens shall be established in a clear, precise and irrevocable manner. All lettres de cachet shall be abolished forever, subject to certain modifications which the States General may see fit to impose.

12. And to remove forever the possibility of injury to the personal and proprietary rights of Frenchmen, the jury system shall be introduced in all criminal cases, and in civil cases for the determination of fact, in all the courts of the realm…

15. A wider liberty of the press shall be accorded, with this provision alone: that all manuscripts sent to the printer shall be signed by the author, who shall be obliged to disclose his identity and bear the responsibility of his work; and to prevent judges and other persons in power from taking advantage of their authority, no writing shall be held a libel until it is so determined by twelve jurors…

20. The military throughout the kingdom shall be subject to the general law and to the civil authorities, in the same manner as other citizens.

21. No tax shall be legal unless accepted by the representatives of the people and sanctioned by the king.

22. Since all Frenchmen receive the same advantage from the government, and are equally interested in its maintenance, they ought to be placed upon the same footing in the matter of taxation.

23. All taxes now in operation are contrary to these principles and for the most part vexatious, oppressive and humiliating to the people. They ought to be abolished as soon as possible, and replaced by others common to the three orders and to all classes of citizens, without exception…

28. In case of war, or other exceptional necessity, no loan shall be made without the consent of the States General, and it shall be enacted that no loan shall be effected, without provision being made by taxation for the payment of interest, and of the principal at a specified time…

49. All relics of feudalism, still remaining in certain provinces, shall be abolished.

50. New laws shall be made in favor of the negroes in our colonies; and the States General shall take measures towards the abolition of slavery…

52. It shall be ordained by the constitution that the executive power be vested in the king alone…

55. His consent shall be necessary to all bills approved by the States General in order that they may acquire the force of law through- out the realm. He may reject all bills presented to him, without being obliged to state the reasons of his disapproval…”