France Celebrates Fraternity

One of our fundamental civil rights took a blow as Paris, France suffered a week of terrorist bloodshed that left 17 dead. On January 11, the world watched dignitary leaders, and the citizens of Paris unite and celebrate the French motto. Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

The Motto’s History

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, is the national motto of France and the Republic of Haiti. It stems from the French Revolution: it appeared in public debate before the proclamation of the First Republic of France 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.


Fraternity or fraternal friendship is the popular sense of the term. The term means emotional and moral uniting, or sibling. “Brotherhood” means an association, society, or community of people linked by a common interest, religion, or trade. This resonates the idea that all men are brothers and should behave as such, vis-à-vis each other.

Some lessons to learn

  1. Turn on the TV if you aren’t familiar with the the Charlie Hedbo disaster. There is no freedom without the freedom of the press or expression.
  2. Does your brotherhood drama really matter? Even the world can unite on a day to celebrate solidarity. Sometimes we allow the little issues burn bridges – learn to allow the expression of opinion, and don not let it affect your brotherhood.
  3. Be a better brother. There’s many small ways to do this. You can listen more, lead more or give just a little bit more. Take five minutes to ensure your ideals align with the oath your took to become a Sigma Pi brother.
  4. Recognize the definition of fraternity. France did something really cool when disaster struck, because millions gathered to celebrate their brotherhood and sisterhood. This defines fraternity to the truest form. Fraternity is not frat.
  5. Absorb the brotherhood. We are brothers for life. Attend your chapter’s, or an international brotherhood event – if you are an undergraduate or alumni. Celebrate your liberty, equality and fraternity. Je Suis Charlie. We are Sigma Pi.