The Republic explained to my friends
History of the French
The Republic arose in 1792 after the Declaration of the Rights of Man and
the Citizen in 1789; it was built by the people for the people. Despite
several returns to monarchy and the empire in the nineteenth century, the
Republic is guided by the same spirit. Thus, France's republican history is
primarily a political construct of a community of citizens who are equal
regardless of their social, ethnic, religious or other backgrounds.
Her foundations and principles
The French Republic is "one and indivisible", meaning that she is made up of
equal citizens, not separate communities. The Republic thus enables unity to
be combined with diversity, the "me" with the "we".
The two resulting principles are those of national sovereignty (top-down
sovereignty, that of the nation-states) and popular sovereignty (bottom-up
sovereignty, that of the people).
National sovereignty corresponds to the idea that every Nation, that
assembly of citizens united by a common history, language and culture,
retains control of the decisions which it has to make for the common good.
Popular sovereignty is the essence of democracy: power proceeds from the
people, who delegate it temporarily to their elected officials. Popular
sovereignty is delegated but remains inalienable. The people are free to
decide, to do and undo.
The Republic is not only indivisible but secular, democratic and social.
"Social" refers to Equality, "democratic" to Liberty and "Secular" to
Fraternity. She assigns priority to the general interest by relying on the
public service to afford all the French, wherever they be in France, the
benefit of the same access to knowledge, security and mobility. Education,
the police and transport are public services.
Her symbols and attributes
: France's national anthem. That "Battle song for the Army of the Rhine",
composed in 1792 by Rouget de Lisle, is an invitation to battle tyranny and
Marianne : a woman in a
Phrygian cap, rifle in one hand and tricolor flag in the other, leading the
people to Liberty. She has symbolized the Republic since 1792.
Tricolor : blue and red, the colors of the city of Paris,
flank white, the color of the monarchy.
Republic's motto : "Liberty, equality, fraternity". That motto is
carved on the pediments of the public buildings.