I. The Constitution of 1791 vested the power to make laws in the National Assembly,
which was indirectly elected. That is, citizens voted for a group of electors, who in
turn chose the Assembly.
ii. Not all citizens, however, had the right to vote. Only men above 25 years of age who
paid taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourer’s wage were given the status of
active citizens, that is, they were entitled to vote.
iii. The remaining men and all women were classed as passive citizens. To qualify as an
elector and then as a member of the Assembly a man had to belong to the highest
bracket of taxpayers.
iv. The Constitution began with a Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Rights
such as the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, equality before law,
were established as natural and inalienable rights, that is, they belonged to each
human being by birth and could not be taken away. It was the duty of the state to
protect each citizen’s natural rights.