Would you agree with the view that the message of universal rights was beset with contradictions?
Yes, the message of universal rights was beset with contradictions.
The revolution came about with the support of the common man-the city poor and the peasant. The right to vote and elect representatives did not solve their problem. Real equality could come only with economic equality.
The contradiction was also evident as regards women. Women did not enjoy the same political rights-right to vote and hold political offices like men-nor were their wages equal to men.
The French wars which began in the name of liberty and equality ended in French becoming conquerors instead of liberators in direct contradiction of the terms as the French held on to, and undertook expansion of colonies.
Slave trade, one of the most inhuman practices, exploitation of slaves to serve vested interests was yet another blatant contradiction.