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How did the National Assembly change French government?

The National Assembly fundamentally transformed French government by establishing a constitutional monarchy and promoting democratic principles.

The National Assembly, formed in 1789, was a revolutionary assembly born out of the Estates-General, a legislative body representing the three estates of the realm: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. The National Assembly was a radical shift from the absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries. It marked the beginning of representative government in France, a significant change in the country's political landscape.

The National Assembly's first significant act was the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. This document, heavily influenced by Enlightenment ideals and the American Declaration of Independence, asserted the universal rights of all men, including liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression. It was a clear break from the feudal system that had previously dominated French society, where rights and privileges were largely determined by one's social status.

The National Assembly also worked to draft a constitution, which was adopted in 1791. This constitution established a constitutional monarchy, a significant departure from the absolute monarchy that had previously ruled France. The king retained significant powers, including the ability to veto legislation and appoint ministers. However, his power was now checked by a legislative assembly, which was elected by a portion of the population.

In addition to these structural changes, the National Assembly also implemented a number of reforms aimed at reducing the power of the Church and the nobility. It nationalised Church lands and abolished feudal dues and privileges, further eroding the old social order. It also introduced measures to promote economic freedom and equality, such as abolishing guilds and trade restrictions.

Overall, the National Assembly played a crucial role in transforming French government. It replaced an absolute monarchy with a constitutional monarchy, asserted the universal rights of all men, and implemented a series of reforms aimed at promoting equality and reducing the power of the Church and the nobility. These changes laid the groundwork for the further democratic developments that would occur in the years to come.

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