Essay: What is the Third Estate

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This essay discusses What is the Third State written by Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes. It is important to understand that it was Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes who at the start of the revolution gave the thought of the nation its modern sense. In his essay, What is the Third Estate? He raised and responded three questions of paramount significance:

It is important to understand that it was Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes who at the start of the revolution gave the thought of the nation its modern sense. In his essay, What is the Third Estate? He raised and responded three questions of paramount significance:

What is the third estate? Everything.

What has it been up to now in the political order of things?

Nothing. What will it become? Something.”

But in order that the third estate may become something completely new, appropriate political conditions had first to be formed in France. The bourgeoisie could become prevailing only if the so-called “Estates General” was restored by a national assembly based on a constitution. Hence the political union of the nation was the first claim of the beginning revolution looking toward the closure of the Estates.

In his essay Sieyes has illustrate the nation as a “community of united individuals subject to the same law and represented by the same legislative body.” But, inclined by the ideas of Rousseau, he extended the meaning of this merely technical definition and made the nation the original basis of all political and social institutions. Thus the nation became the real embodiment of the common will in Rousseau’s sense: “Her will is always lawful, for she is herself the embodiment of the law.”

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