Social Studies Essay
To the combien membres of the National Assembly: Messieurs, Merci for the opportunity to persuade the assembly to grant Jews full citizenship. To complete the révolution, found France on its true principles and honor the sacrifices of the French patriots that allow us to be here today, it is essential to grant Jews full citizenship. It is to the benefit of the harmony between Christians and Jews, the leadership of France, and the different types of Jews living in France. By responding to and expanding upon the ideas of the combien Monsieur le Comte de Clermont Tonnere, the combien Monsieur le Abbé Grégoire, the combien Monsieur le Comte de Mirabeau, the combien Monsieur le Bishop de la Fare, and the combien Monsieur le Abbé Maury, we intend to demonstrate granting Jews French citizenship is necessary to the values of the révolution, benefits the new French nation and society, and is morally right.
The principles of the révolution, as set forth in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens, make imperative that the Jews be granted full citizenship. As the combien Monsieur le Comte de Clermont Tonnere proposes, “So leave mans’s conscience free, that sentiments or thoughts guided in one manner or another towards the heavens will not be crimes that society punishes the loss of social rights.” Not granting Jews citizenship is against the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which prohibits the denial of rights on the basis of religious practices unless they disturb the public order. The Jews’ practice of religion does not disturb the public order. The combien Monsieur le Abbé Maury claims that our practices leave the Jews no time for agriculture, but even if that were the case, it does not mean that our religious practices disturbs the public order. In addition, he claims that enmity is felt towards the Jews because of their religious practices, but in fact, the enmity is felt towards the Jews because of the way the Jews had to live in France as a result of the oppressive rules against Jews. Therefore, the only exception (disturbing the public order) to the Declaration’s protection of religious freedom does not apply to the Jews’ religious practices; in order to follow the principles of the Declaration we must grant the Jews full citizenship.
The combien Monsieur le Abbé Maury quotes Voltaire to support the idea that Jews are born innately bad, but this belies the basic philosophy of John Locke, one of the forefathers of the Enlightenment, that every human being is born with an equal potential and clean slate (Tabula Rasa). In the “Letter of Memmius to Cicero”, Voltaire supports his claim that every Jew is born with raging fanaticism with the idea that Bretons and the Germans are born with blond hair. The latter argument is as obviously false as the former.
Citizenship for the Jews will benefit all of the groups in France affected and the harmony among these groups. The combien Monsieur le Bishop de la Fare and the combien Monsieur le Abbé Maury are right that there is conflict between Jews and non-Jews in Eastern France. If you do not give Jews citizenship, you are perpetuating these problems, but if we embrace them as equal members of France harmony will increase and conflict will decrease. The Comte Monsieur le de Mirabeau and the Comte Monsieur le Abbé Grégoire correctly point out that part of the reason for the conflict is that the unequal treatment of the Jews forces them into a lifestyle that causes and perpetuates conflict with those around them. If you want to alleviate the conflict, then give the Jews freedom equal to other French citizens’ so that they have the opportunity to live in harmony with the non-Jews.
Moreover, French citizenship will benefit all groups of Jews in France. The Sephardim (Jews in southwestern France) will benefit because so many already live in keeping with Enlightenment ideas, and they already are integrated members of French society. The Jews…