We, the nation of Comenius, cannot but accept these principles expressed in the American Declaration of Independence, the principles of Lincoln, and of the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen. For these principles our nation shed its blood in the memorable Hussite Wars 500 years ago; for these same principles, beside her allies, our nation is shedding its blood today in Russia, Italy, and France.
. . . .The Czecho-Slovak State shall be a republic. In constant endeavour for progress it will guarantee complete freedom of conscience, religion and science, literature and art, speech, the press, and the right of assembly and petition.
The Church shall be separated from the State. Our democracy shall rest on universal suffrage; women shall be placed on an equal footing with men, politically, socially, and culturally. The rights of the minority shall be safeguarded by proportional representation; national minorities shall enjoy equal rights. The government shall be parliamentary in form and shall recognize the principles of initiative and referendum. The standing army will be replaced by militia.
The Czecho-Slovak Nation will carry out far-reaching social and economic reforms; the large estates will be re-deemed for home colonization; patents of nobility will be abolished. Our nation will assume its part of the Austro-Hungarian pre-war public debt; the debts of this war we leave to those who incurred them.
In its foreign policy the Czecho-Slovak Nation will accept its full share of responsibility in the reorganization of eastern Europe. It accepts fully the democratic and social principle of nationality and subscribes to the doctrine that all covenants and treaties shall be entered into openly and frankly without secret diplomacy.
Our constitution shall provide an efficient, rational, and just government, which will exclude all special privileges and prohibit class legislation.
Democracy has defeated theocratic autocracy. Militarism is overcome - democracy is victorious; on the basis of democracy mankind will be recognized.
The forces of darkness have served the victory of light - the longed-for age of humanity is dawning.
We believe in democracy - we believe in liberty - and liberty evermore.
Given in Paris, on the eighteenth of October, 1918.
Professor Thomas G. Masaryk, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
General Dr. Milan R. Stefanik, Minister of National Defence.
Dr. Edward Benes, Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Interior.
When Austria collapsed and when Czechoslovakia was declared an independent state, there was big jubilation in the streets, and people were tearing down the Austrian eagle. One man lifted me on his shoulders and I removed one, from the police station.
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