The idea of natural rights, or the universal privileges given to all men, grew in popularity after the Enlightenment era. The philosopher, John Locke, argued that it is the government's soul duty role to protect its peoples' rights to Liberty, Life, and private property. The American and French governments both chose to follow Locke's teachings in their declarations; America in The Declaration of Independence and France with The Declaration of the Rights of Man. Although both declarations include the idea of natural rights, they were written to accomplish different goals.
Both the French and American declarations portray the tyranny of their current government: one by the monarchy of the British King; the other, an Oligarchy class structure. Both nations were frustrated with the current government violation of what Locke called natural rights. They demand that, "all Men are Created Equal" (line 5), regardless of what class they were born in. This is why they believed in every man deserves, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness"(line 64). They concluded that majority ruled by a minority group would infringe upon their natural rights. In America's case a British monarchy hundreds of miles away enforced a dictatorship and the French, by the First and Second estate system which consisted of less than 1% of society but held the power in the government. Both declarations documents also display parallel ideal of Locke's natural rights in their arguments. They both bring attention to the incompetence of their government as rulers and such rulers desire for power out weigh the good of the public. This was important for Jefferson to point out, as it would unite the people in order to rise up and change their current government.
Both the French and American declarations contain philosophical ideals of what a just government should be. Philosophical idea, such as separation of church and state, and separation of executive power.