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Religion played a considerable role in the course of the French Revolution, and the revolution was a major milestone in the evolution of religious life in France. But that milestone had two very different sides to it.

The liberal side constituted the adoption of pluralism in France by means of Article X of the Declaration of Rights of 1789, which proclaimed religious freedom; the Constitution of 1791, which virtually established freedom of worship; and specific laws that guaranteed civil equality for Protestants in December 1789 and for Jews of the entire realm in September 1791. Such pluralism was completely exceptional: The longer term effects of French-style “emancipation” of the Jews have raised a lot of comments and controversies, but the immediate and complete civil equality that ...

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