The French Revolution, Citizenship, and Nationality
The memory of the French Revolution retains its emotive power in current debates on nationality, citizenship, and immigration in the Fifth Republic. The doctrine of the rights of man implies that all men and women can be citizens, either in their own countries or in France, on fulfilment of certain basic conditions. As these rights are universal, race, religion, or language are theoretically irrelevant: being human and having a proven desire and ability to contribute to the life of the nation is sufficient. In the early years of the Revolution, the revolutionaries sought to attract and retain talented and diligent foreigners who would enjoy the fruits of liberty while enriching the country. Ultimately, these people would adopt France as their home — but at the price of abandoning all other forms of corporate or national identity.
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