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The first phase of the Revolution was marked by moral and physical violence. The National Assembly established a new legal structure by abolishing privileges, venality, and "feudal" obligations (August 4); formulating a Declaration of Rights (August 26); and specifying basic constitutional principles that left the king as the chief executive officer but deprived him of any legislative power except a suspensive veto. In 1789-91, a comparatively peaceful period, the National Assembly did much to modernize France. Despite the Declaration of Rights, the reformed franchise still excluded the poor; but the public maintained its faith in freedom and unity. In 1791 the call for a clerical oath of loyalty crystallized the conflict between the new sovereignty and traditional loyalties and split the whole country. In 1791-92 the hard-won constitution collapsed.
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