Decree on the abolition of the nobility (1790)

On June 19th 1790, the National Constituent Assembly passed the following decree, abolishing the nobility and noble titles in France:

“The National Assembly decrees that hereditary nobility is for all time abolished, and that consequently no one whosoever shall use or be addressed by the titles of prince, duc, comte, marquis, vicomte, vidame, baron, chevalier, messire, ecuyer, noble or any other similar title.

Every French citizen must use only the real surname of his family. He may no longer wear livery or cause it to be worn or possess armorial bearings. In church, incense will be burned only to honour the deity and will not be offered to anyone, be he never so high.

No body or individual will be addressed by the titles monseigneur and meisseigneurs nor by those of excellence, altesse, eminence or grandeur. However, no citizen may choose to make the present decree a pretext for defacing monuments placed in churches, charters, titles and other documents of importance to families, property or the embellishments of any public or private building; nor may anyone at all proceed with or require the implementation of the provisions relating to liveries and to armorials on carriages before July 14th (for citizens resident in Paris) or before the expiry of three months (for those living in the provinces).”