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  • Slogan of the French Republic

    Slogan of the French Republic

    The slogan was inscribed on the pediments of public buildings for the celebration of 14 July 1880. © AFP

  • Liberty Leading the People

    Liberty Leading the People

    Eugène Delacroix, 1830, Musée du Louvre, Paris. © RMN - Grand Palais

  • Slogan of the French Republic

    Slogan of the French Republic

    The slogan “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité”, inherited from the Age of Enlightenment, was mentioned for the first time during the French Revolution. It was often challenged, but finally became established under the 3rd Republic. It was included in the constitution of 1958 and is now part of our national heritage. © DR

  • Slogan of the French Republic

    Slogan of the French Republic

    18th, Musée du Carnavalet, Paris. © RMN - Grand Palais / Agence Bulloz

“Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” (Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood), the slogan of France is part of our national heritage.

The notions of liberty, equality and brotherhood, associated by Fénelon at the end of the 17th century, became more widespread during the Age of Enlightenment.

The slogan “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” stems from the French Revolution: it appeared in public debate before the proclamation of the First Republic as of 1790.

Like many revolutionary symbols, the slogan fell into disuse during the Empire. It reappeared during the Revolution of 1848, with a religious dimension: the priests celebrated the Brotherhood of Christ and blessed the trees of liberty that were planted at that time. When the Constitution of 1848 was drafted, the slogan “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” was defined as a “principle” of the Republic.

It was rejected during the Second Empire, but finally became established under the 3rd Republic. There is still some resistance, even among partisans of the Republic: solidarity is sometimes preferred to equality, which implies social levelling, and the Christian connotation of brotherhood is not always unanimously accepted.

The slogan was inscribed on the pediments of public buildings for the celebration of 14 July 1880. It appears in the Constitutions of 1946 and 1958 and is now an integral part of our national heritage. It can be found on widely distributed objects such as coins and stamps.