CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

This article examines why the inclusion of natural children in the social body of citizens was consi dered an achievement of the French Revolution, even though the measures granting new rights to illegitimate children (the Loi du 12 Brumaire An II) were rarely applied and were even significantly reduced following the fall of Robespierre on 9 Thermidor of the same year. The hypothesis forwarded here is that this reaction was accompanied by a process privatizing the rights of persons that resulted in citizenship being considered a dignity independent of the conditions of birth, and the inequalities produced by civil law being isolated to the purely private sphere.

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