The Constitution of 1791 on equality (1791)


This extract from the Constitution of 1791, passed by the National Assembly in September that year, abolishes nobility and privilege:

“The National Assembly, wishing to establish the French Constitution upon the principles it has just recognised and declared, abolishes irrevocably the institutions which were injurious to liberty and equality of rights.

Neither nobility, nor peerage, nor hereditary distinctions, nor distinctions of orders, nor feudal regime, nor patrimonial courts, nor any titles, denominations, or prerogatives derived therefrom, nor any order of knighthood, nor any corporations or decorations requiring proofs of nobility or implying distinctions of birth, nor any superiority other required for the performance of duties any longer exists.

Neither venality nor inheritance of any public office any longer exists.

Neither privilege nor exception to the law common to all Frenchmen any longer exists for any part of the nation or for any individual…

The law no longer recognises religious vows or any other obligation contrary to natural rights or the Constitution.”