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The French Revolution: the real story.


"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."-Charles Dickens
Third in a series that includes


Latest political news and current events: transformed by the revolution, France reversed its long-term national decline in the 19th century, although it continued to cede ground relatively speaking against its growing rivals the UK, the U.S., Germany, Japan, the Soviet Union/Russia, and China. Key events in that decline include defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Pyrrhic victories in WWI and WWII, the Russian and Chinese revolutions, and the colonial revolution including historic defeats in Indo-China and Algeria. However, France remains one of the most powerful nations in the world, a leading nuclear power, permanent member of the UN Security Council, chief rival of Germany for control of the EU, and a minor colonial power with possessions from Tahiti to Martinique. It has the world's 5th-highest GDP, and is a leading producer of chemicals, cosmetics and fashions, energy, and automobile tires. The Code Napoleon is the basis of government for nearly all continental Europe, their former colonies, and (at remove) every socialist country, and is influential on the legal systems of Quebec and Louisiana. Napoleon I has been a major model for numerous contemporary and later political leaders including notably Aaron Burr, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Simon Bolivar, Napoleon III, Otto von Bismarck, Adolf Hitler, Emperor Bokassa, Mobutu Sese Seko, and Saddam Hussein, and on philosophers including especially Hegel. Robespierre was an influence for Marx, Lenin, and Pol Pot. Babeuf influenced Marx, Blanqui, Bakunin, and Lenin. Zhou Enlai, asked his opinion of the French Revolution in the 1960s, famously replied that it was too soon to tell.
Best of: the French Revolution rid not only France, but much of the world, of many feudal relations and established a uniform system of laws and measurement. It gave the world the Rights of Man, the first modern abolition of slavery outside some areas seized by runaway slaves, early feminism, and a spectacle of democracy the likes of which the world had never seen, and would not again until the Paris Commune which it helped inspire. It was an inspiration for democratic struggles worldwide to this day, notably the American fight for democracy, the Irish freedom struggle, the revolutions of 1848, and even the Spanish, Dutch, and German resistance to French rule. It strengthened the bourgeoisie in its fight against feudalism and its allies, secularism in its fight against clericalism, and the working class in its fight for emancipation. It made France the first European country, and the only white-majority country for more than 100 years, to legalize homosexuality. Haiti gained its independence as a direct result of the revolution and has long been one of the poorest countries in the world largely due to years of war compounded by American, French, and Dominican hostilities and invasions.
Trash heap (of history): the revolution helped spur the UK toward reaction, organize the triumph of the reactionary slave power under Jefferson in the U.S. through its alliance of convenience with democratic forces, elevate Napoleon to power with his hypocritical twisting of its democratic element into nationalist violence, and accelerate the birth of the French bureaucracy which became the first modern bureaucracy in the world, which laid the groundwork for centuries of bureaucratic oppression around the world. The triumphant bourgeois class eventually handed over power to the restored Bourbon monarchy in France and organized the reactionary Holy Alliance outside France. The Russian defeat of Napoleon's forces accelerated Russia's growth as a major power and as the citadel of world reaction.
Op ed: leaders in the revolutionary period took on many ideological guises. Louis XVI modeled himself on Louis XIV and later Charles I of England, and Marie Antoinette on Catherine De Medici. Colbert aped Fleury and Malesherbes, Turgot took after Dupont, and Necker admired Pitt the Elder and Adam Smith. Mably influenced everyone from Orleans to Lafayette to Lameth to Danton to Robespierre. Condorcet influenced Lafayette and Talleyrand. Orleans was also influenced by Cincinnatus, Crassus, and William the Silent; Cincinnatus and Sulla were inspirations for Bailly. Franklin was a big influence on Helvetius, Lafayette, Mirabeau, Rochefoucauld, and Sieyes, while Jefferson influenced Barnave, Danton, Robespierre, Hebert, and David. Paine influenced, in particular, Barnave, Sonthonax, Lavoisier, Leclerc, Leon, Lacombe, and Fouche. The Lameths and Napoleon took inspiration from Frederick the Great. Pym was a model for Mirabeau, Danton, Jean-Marie Roland, and Talleyrand, and Oliver Cromwell for Desmoulins, Danton, Robespierre, and Saint-Just. Voltaire was a big influence on Lafayette, Mirabeau, Sieyes, Vadier, Robespierre, Saint-Just, Collot d'Herbois, Billaud-Varenne, Couthon, David, Diderot, Le Bas, Fouche, Sade, Roux, and Chalmette. Rousseau was a particular influence on Sade, Brissot, Barnave, Leclerc, Leon, Roux, David, Marat, and Babeuf. The Gracchi were a model for Babeuf, who renamed himself Gracchus Babeuf. Marius was a particular model for Sonthonax. Brutus was an inspiration for many including Lafayette, Louvet, Laclos, Danton, Robespierre, Saint-Just, Le Bas, David, Collot d'Herbois, Billaud-Varenne, and Corday. Caesar was a model for Marat, Varlet, and Napoleon, Pompey for Napoleon as well, Spartacus for Hebert, Toussaint L'Ouverture, and Dessalines, and Constantine for Barnave and Napoleon. It may seem, too, that Lafayette and Dumouriez modeled their conduct on that of Coriolanus, and Sade on Caligula, Nero, Elagabalus, and Bathory. Lycurgus, Savonarola, and Calvin were particular influences for Saint-Just, and Aristides was for Louvet. Cathelineau and Leon were influenced by Joan of Arc, Charette by Bonnie Prince Charlie, and La Rochejaquelain by Henry IV and the pope. Coburg seems to have relished the role of Sulla, and Pitt that of Bloody Mary. Roux took his influence from Wycliffe, John Ball, Luther, and Voltaire. Machiavelli was an influence for Mirabeau, Danton, Desmoulins, Leclerc, and Talleyrand. Lacombe was particularly influenced by Wollstonecraft, and Machefer by Abigail Adams. Cicero was an important influence on the Rolands, Burke, Laclos, Danton, Vadier, Chaumette, Tallien, and Barras. Fabre d'Eglantine was influenced by Cesare Borgia.
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Civil and human rights: in August 1789, in response to peasant revolts, titles and feudal privileges were abolished by the National Assembly on a motion by Leguen de Kerangal, a Breton noble of the robe. Opposition was led by Isaac Le Chapelier, a corporation lawyer allied with Necker. At the insistence of duc d'Aiguillon, the richest man in France besides the king, and an ally of Lafayette, feudal privileges bearing down on the other orders had to be redeemed by an indemnity paid by them, a decision denounced by Marat and reversed in February 1790 by the constituent assembly on the initiative of Henri Gregoire, a bishop allied with Robespierre, over opposition led by the duc d'Orleans.

The Declaration of Rights passed in August 1789 on Barnave's initiative over opposition led by Baron Malouet, an ally of Alexandre de Lameth, guaranteed rights to liberty, property, safety, and resistance to oppression; abolished restrictions on Protestants; and declared all men equal. It was denounced as heretical by Pope Pius VI in March 1791.

Actors, deprived of citizenship under ancient laws of France, were legally emancipated in December 1789 by the Constituent Assembly on a proposal by the Comte de Clermont-Tonnerre, a noble d'epee allied with Barnave, and supported by Robespierre, and opposed by Cardinal Jean du Maury.

Du Maury's opposition at that time carried the day against emancipation of the Jews, but Jews in most of France gained citizenship in January 1790 on Robespierre's proposal, again over du Maury's opposition, although based on an alliance between du Maury and a xenophobic faction led by the king and his ally in the assembly at the time, the lawyer Adrien Duport, Jews in the Alsace region ... the majority of the Jews in France ... would not gain their citizenship until December 1791, when the same leaders took up the cudgel for their respective sides.

In September 1792, on Danton's motion, and over opposition from Roland, the right to bear arms for all loyal Frenchmen was declared. This right was abolished by decree by Louis XVIII in April 1814.

In October 1791, on Le Peletier's initiative and over opposition led by du Maury, laws against homosexuality, anal and oral sex, adultery, and fornication were abolished.

In November 1792, on the initiative of Gregoire and over opposition led by Roland, spousal abuse was banned and divorce legalized by the Convention.

In February 1790, Claude Dansard, a teacher active in the Jacobins, created the Fraternal Society of Patriots of Both Sexes to promote the Jacobins among women. Its male presidents were Pierre Pepin, Tallien, and Merlin de Thionville. The society, supported warmly by Marat and Hebert, was an early advocate for banning spousal abuse and legalizing divorce. Outstanding women involved in the club include Francoise Goupil, a former nun who would marry Hebert, Pauline Leon, a chocolate maker who would marry Theophile Leclerc, and Claire Lacombe, a former actress who lived with Leclerc before he left her for Leon.

The Cordeliers, founded in April 1790, admitted women, and Leon, Lacombe, and especially Manon Roland (wife of Jean-Marie) became frequent speakers.

In March 1792, Pauline Leon demanded from the right to bear arms and the right of citizenship for women, but could find no deputy to support her.

Lacombe founded the Club of Revolutionary Republican Women, of which Leon was a supporter as well, in May 1793, and won the right to address the Jacobins and the Jacobins' support of citizenship and the right to bear arms for women, with support for her proposals led by Pierre Bentabole, a lawyer and ally of Marat, and opposition by Jean-Nicolas Pache, Mayor of Paris and an ally of Chaumette.

In August, a proposal in the Convention by Desmoulins to extend the right to vote to women was defeated by overwhelming opposition led by Fabre d'Eglantine.

In October, largely in response to demonstrations organized by Lacombe, Leclerc, and Merlin de Thionville, the Convention, led by Robespierre and over opposition led by Carnot, decreed the equal right of inheritance for children (including illegitimate children) of both sees, and replaced the husband's rights to the property of a married couple with equal rights to property for men and women.

Led by Lacombe, the club pushed to force all women in Paris to pay symbolic homage to the revolution and the Montagne, arousing complaints from Manon Roland in particular. In October 1793, Amar speaking for the Committee of General Security banned women's clubs. When Lacombe led a delegation to the Convention protesting that decision later that month, he led a campaign to shout her down and successfully prevented her from speaking.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man, passed in April 1793 by the Convention on Robespierre's proposal (backed by Saint-Just) and over Condorcet's opposition, established a right to seize property for the public weal, a right to public aid, a right to education and a right to insurrection. These rights were abolished in September 1795 by plebiscite when the new Constitution authored principally by former seminary professor Pierre Daunou was passed
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Controversial topics: as noted above, the use of titles was outlawed in 1791. In November 1793, following protests of the popular societies led by Varlet, Robespierre proposed and passed over Thuriot's opposition a law outlawing use of the formal pronoun vous (as opposed to the respectful tu), a position celebrated in a play by Billaud-Varenne. In June 1793, Danton, supported by Hanriot, Robespierre, Herault de Sechelles, Billaud-Varenne, and Legendre decreed the arrest of right-wing members of the Convention. On Barere's proposal, Isnard, Lanthenas, and Fauchet were exempted from arrest when they voluntarily resigned, but Lanjuinais and Barbaroux spoke against the arrests and found themselves arrested.

In September 1793, Merlin de Douai won, unopposed in the Convention, passage of the Law of Suspects, outlawing opinions hostile to the Republic. It was repealed by the Convention on Barras's initiative, without opposition, in October 1795.

In July 1789, a popular movement led by Bailly won from the king a right to popular assembly. In December 1789, the Constituent Assembly on the initiative of Sieyes, and over opposition led by Gregoire, revoked this right, and hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators were massacred in July 1791 on the orders of Lafayette. In May 1791, Le Chapelier pushed over Petion's, Gregoire's, and Robespierre's opposition to outlaw petitions and putting posters on walls. In September 1791, Le Chapelier, over Robespierre's opposition, passed w banning political clubs. These restrictions were reversed in July 1792 on the initiative of Herault de Sechelles, backed by Brissot and Robespierre and opposed by Lafayette.

In December 1793, on Billaud-Varenne's initiative and over opposition led by Merlin de Thiensville, popular assemblies were again banned. In March 1794, Saint-Just, speaking for the Committee of Public Safety, decreed the arrest of the Cordeliers leaders; he was unopposed in the Convention, although Hebert organized an unsuccessful street resistance.

Danton was arrested on Saint-Just's orders, with Robespierre's support, in the same month, and in the April trial was deprived of the opportunity to defend himself in court.

Beginning in April 1795, the Muscadins, or right-wing aristocrats, beat tens of thousands of Parisians for their presumed left-wing opinions or their democratic insolence, until they were themselves dispersed and outlawed by Napoleon's forces that October.

In November 1799, by Napoleon's decree, all sedition was outlawed and the right to free speech repealed.


Economics, business, and taxes: under the monarchy, France did not have a budget but did have large deficits, especially following its intervention on the side of the American Revolution. Under controller-general Jacques Necker (1776-1781), expenses were cut by eliminating extravagance associated with the court and the expensive postal service, and reducing incarceration.

His successor, Charles de Calonne took out new loans to finance a new naval facility, but in 1786, concerned about consistent deficits, he proposed a property tax, along with abolition of internal or external tariffs on grain and abolition of all other internal tariffs aside from city tolls. When the Parlements refused to support his tax, in 1787 he convened an extra constitutional assembly of notables, who also refused their approval, and Calonne was dismissed.

In August 1787, with the deficit crisis becoming very acute, the king exercised his ancient prerogative of appearing personally at the Paris parlement to force it to register a tax on newspapers and posters, but the next day the parlement declared his decree illegal. The masses of Paris rose up against new taxes and the king was forced to back down.

Calonne's successor, Brienne, was forced to agree to the convocation of the Estates-General in order for the parlement to grant a new loan. The king attempted unsuccessfully to force the parlement to grant the loan, and the Duke of Orleans (the king's cousin) was exiled for saying his methods were illegal.

Meanwhile, free trade in grain led producers to seek better prices overseas, and droughts and hail in 1788 severely impacted the harvest. As a result, bread prices had doubled by summer 1789.

In April 1789, Necker, who had been brought back, banned exports of grain, authorized a census of stocks, and ordered large grain hoards seized ... but could not get tax collectors to cooperate. People in villages across France began themselves seizing caravans of grain and flour, paying only what they considered fair, a practice dubbed "popular taxation."

A free-trade treaty signed with England by Calonne, at the insistence of the wine merchants, in 1786, meanwhile flooded France with cheap textiles, combining with a poor silk harvest to put an estimated 66,000 weavers (who refused to adopt modern weaving machines for fear they would reduce employment) out of work, including large numbers in Lyon.

When employers began demanding workers' wages be lowered in April 1789, riots in Paris ensued, resulting in the murder of 300 rioters and 12 soldiers.

Food riots and lynchings continued for months around the country, peaking with an organ of lynchings in July.

Under the ancien regime, nobles had legal title to tax all manner of everyday activities such as economic transactions, harvesting crops, getting married, burying relatives, movements, etc. In August 1789, the vicomte de Noailles, Lafayette 's brother-in-law, successfully proposed in the Constituent Assembly replacing these with a progressive income tax, but the duc d'Aiguillon successfully held out for a right of nobles to redeem their former rights for cash, a position agreed to by Noailles. Tithes payable to secular landowners were not abolished.

Much of the aristocracy then went into exile, and tailors, wig-makers, shoemakers, wallpaper makers, and other businesses that catered to a wealthier clientele, especially in Paris were thrown out of business. Demonstrations of the unemployed peaked in Paris in August 1789.
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Cont'd.: in August largely on Necker's initiative the Assembly without objection deregulated grain production and in September eliminated price controls for grain, and prices junped, despite the elimination of city tolls that year. In October 1789 the women of Paris, mostly fishmongers, stormed the Versailles and made off with bread and flour.

More popular taxation of flour and lynchings in Paris gave rise to the declaration of martial law, proposed by Bailly and passed overwhelmingly over opposition by Robespierre and Mirabeau.

Necker was unable to get a new loan, meanwhile, and the deficit had become increasingly acute. Bishop Talleyrand solved the immediate crisis by proposing the seizure of church property, a proposal passed with the support of Mirabeau over opposition led by du Maury. Bonds (assignats) were issued, secured by the proceeds from the sale of church property, to continue funding of the government. By 1791, however, these assignees had become in all but name paper money and their buying power was reduced in order to fund deficit spending.

In February 1790, on Condorcet's initiative and over opposition led by du Maury, the monopolies of trading companies and cities were abolished, most importantly the right of the East India Company to exclusive trade in the Indian Ocean and the exclusive right of Marseille to trade in the Levant. However, opposition led by Mederic Moreau de Saint-Mery, a sugar planter and museum president, torpedoed Condorcet's efforts to allow colonies to trade with each other or countries other than France. Alexandre Lameth successfully pushed, over opposition led by Condorcet, for a maximum wage.

In March 1790, on Mirabeau's initiative and over resistance led by Petion, the Assembly made it easier for the nobility to claim rights that had to be redeemed by the peasants. Combined with growing food prices this led to a wave of peasant revolts, in SW. France, that freed prisoners and forced cities to lower bread prices. Revolts in E. France, which were more sustained, demanded not only fixed grain prices but also land redistribution. Sans-culottes in Lyon, buoyed by these revolts, revolted themselves and forced expansion of the citizenship.

The government responded by killing dozens and imprisoning hundreds.

A strike wave, crushed by the government, hit Paris in July, demanding lower prices.

A good harvest in 1791 stemmed the rise in flour prices temporarily, but they rose again as flooding ruined crops and the debasement of the assignat spurred inflation. The great slave revolt in St. Domingue meanwhile soon led to sugar and coffee shortages, and the customary daily cafe au lait allowances for Paris 's washer women were eliminated. Parisian workers and artisans mobbed grocer shops, demanding low-priced flour, bread, sugar, and coffee, in January 1792, while the Jacobin Club's members voted to give up sugar and coffee themselves on Louvet's proposal (over opposition by Danton) in solidarity with the poor.

Meanwhile, in November 1791 a major peasant revolt broke out in the North. Often assisted by village mayors and the National Guard, the peasants instituted "popular taxation" on wheat, eggs, butter, wood, and coal, and pillaged and burned the estates of nobles who had gone into exile.

Another good harvest in 1792 did not prevent bread prices from rising due to speculation, the costs of provisioning the army, and ongoing monetary inflation. In August 1792, in the name of equality, Hebert convinced the Paris commune, over Danton 's objections, to prohibit putting rye (cheaper than wheat) in the bread, further leading to price increases.

Hebert denounced Roland, Roux and Varlet denounced the Convention, and a workers' petition to the Convention demanded a maximum price for grain. Gregoire spoke for the unanimous Convention in opposition.

In Lyon, the Enrages leaders Manlius Didier and Rousseau Hidins unsuccessfully proposed to the Commune a tribunal to punish hoarders, a state board to seize and distribute grain and regulate other subsistence goods, and state ownership of mills and regulation of baking, but succeeded in winning a dole for the more than 50% of the city that was unemployed. Radical priests, mostly in the eastern villages, preached in favor of communism in consumption.

A new peasant rebellion, supported by local mayors and municipalities, broke out in N. France in November 1792, setting reduced and fixed prices for wheat, barley, candles, beef, cloth, shoes, and iron. Thousands were killed in response by the Convention.

In December 1792, on Roland's initiative and over Robespierre's opposition, the Convention outlawed local price fixing and reaffirmed "free trade" in food; but due to agitation led by Roux, the Paris municipality voted an emergency subsidy to bakers to lower bread prices.

In January 1793, Parisians led by Hebert demanded from the Convention that all merchants accept the assignat (paper money) at face value and a ban on exchanging it for gold or silver. Although supported by Marat, their proposal was defeated by opposition led by Roland.

Later that month, the Paris municipality under Nicolas Chambon, a Danton ally, abolished bread subsidies, sparking large city-wide riots. In February, the Commune on Danton's proposal agreed to freeze the price of bread by instituting a special tax on the rich.

Jacques Roux then demanded of the Convention imprisonment of officials caught speculating in grain, a uniform measure, and the death penalty for merchants who charged too much for wheat. He was denounced by Louvet and Marat, who demanded his prosecution.
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Cont'd.: Also in February 1792, laundry women in Paris denounced the Jacobins, physically attacked Billaud-Varenne, demanded from the Convention cuts in soap prices and the prosecution of speculators (Robespierre spoke for a unanimous Convention in rebuff information their demands), and instituted "popular taxation" on soap, sugar, and candles. Dozens were arrested.

By September 1792, a reduction in aristocratic extravagance and stock market growth boosted by free trade allowed for the budget to be balanced.

However, as popular resistance continued, the left wing of the Convention began to adopt more moderate views. In March 1793, Jean Bon Saint-Andre, a former sea captain and Protestant minister, ordered the emergency seizure of grain by the government in his jurisdiction (as representative of the Convention) in SW. France, and a prohibition on removing grain, and requested of the Convention a general requisition of grain and the establishment of public granaries.

Robespierre spoke in favor of these proposals, and demanded a dole for the poor and executions of speculators, at the Jacobins in April, and in May Thuriot (supported by Nicolas Lullier, his ally as district magistrate of the Paris department and Robespierre, over opposition led by Vergniaud and his ally, lawyer Francois Buzot) succeeded in fixing a maximum for grain prices.

Meanwhile in Marseille, in March 1793 a rebellion by sans-culottes had pushed Joseph Chalier of the Jacobins into a leadership position and made his ally Antoine-Marie Bertrand mayor. They established a city-owned bakery fixed prices for subsistence goods, and set a schedule of wage rates. When they proposed a new tax on the rich to fund an army to protect the revolution, however, the rich rebelled and put their own leader, the botanist and Roland ally Jean-Emmanuel Gilibert, who reversed Chalier's reforms, in power.

In June 1793, Roux demanded from the Convention a death penalty for hoarders and a ban on the sale of silver coin while denouncing the new constitution. Collot d'Herbois intervened several times to ensure that he could speak, as Louis-Joseph Charlier (who unsuccessfully demanded his arrest), a lawyer close to Danton, and others attempted to interrupt. Louis Legendre, a butcher and ally of Marat, successfully opposed his arrest, but only by suggesting mob justice would be better for him. He was also denounced by Robespierre, Billaud-Varenne. Thuriot also denounced him as an anarchist but at the same time proposed (unsuccessfully; the opposition was led by Robespierre) that his economic proposals be adopted.

In May, Roux issued a manifesto demanding maximum prices for all essentials, a forced loan from the rich, the confiscation of goods from the wealthy, and a public pension for members of the popular militias. He was denounced by Hebert.

Laundry women in Paris instituted "popular taxation" of nearly a ton of soap in Paris in June, and demanded from the Commune, which Hebert speaking for a unanimous Commune refused, a maximum price on soap.

In June, however, the Convention responded to the popular movements by adopting, over Bridget's opposition, Thuriot 's proposals to close the stock exchange, empower the Revolutionary Tribunal to punish speculators, and ask the Committee of Public Safety to consider maximum prices for all subsistence goods.

Wheat scarcities in Paris meanwhile increased due to civil war in W. France, drought, and the unintended effects of the (price) "maximum." In July, the Commune led by Danton posted armed guards around the bakeries, where mobs were lining up, and ordered a weekly inventory of their flour.

In July, workers protesting high egg prices in Paris destroyed dozens of eggs for sale. Meanwhile, the Committees of Public Safety and General Security in emergency joint session adopted a proposal announced by Robespierre to deliver large amounts of flour, confiscated from merchants, to the Paris bakeries.

Also in July, Collot d'Herbois (opposed by Brissot) prevailed on the Convention to pass the death penalty against hoarders. Due to vagueness in the law, few would be convicted, however. In August, Barere (opposed, again, by Brissot) got a law passed establishing a network of government grain stores, regulating bakers, and empowering commute authorities to seize their ovens; but the lack of grain prevented this law from being implemented. Edmond Dubois-Crance, a former soldier allied with David, proposed a network of government stores selling cheap subsidized bread, but this time Brissot's opposition, buoyed by inflation fears, doomed the proposal.

As bread riots continued into September, the Committee of Public Safety extended the maximum to all basic necessities; Chaumette and Hebert, representing the commune, themselves participated in "popular taxation" on bread, and promised to demand of the Convention a Revolutionary Army to seize and distribute wheat. Danton backed the proposal for a Revolutionary Army, which was passed over opposition led by Vergniaud and his ally, the lawyer Armand Gensonne.
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The maximum price for grain and flour was lowered on Collot d'Herbois's initiative, over opposition led by Merlin de Douai, in September; then on a proposal by Jacques-Michel Coupe de l'Oise, a priest influenced by Mably and allied with Danton, supported by Pierre-Joseph Cambon, a merchant allied with Fouche, and opposed mainly by Merlin de Douai, the Convention voted to raise all fixed prices (except tobacco, salt, and soap, which were not raised) by 1/3 and at the same time to raise all wages by 1/2, and set a minimum wage.

Even then, strikes and demonstrations led to most workers in Paris being paid 3 or 4 times the legal maximum, and government planning, price increases, and an end to civil war led shortages of most necessities (soap and meat excepted) to come to an end by March 1794. That month, the Paris municipality led by Pache raised prices in the city at the insistence of the merchants.

In April, the Commune under Claude-Francois de Payan, a noble d'epee allied with Robespierre, sought to break the unions. The printers' union and the carpenters' union (which was allied with the Cordeliers) had fought to keep prices down in 1790-1791 beforehand being banned in September 1791 on a proposal of Le Chapelier, opposed by Robespierre. Illegal unions began to reappear with the economic crisis of 1793, though, and a strike wave hit Paris to protest price increases in March 1794. Striking tobacco workers and teamsters were arrested by Payan's orders in April, and their wages reduced to the maximum. In June the Committee of Public Safety, in a decision announced by Robespierre, arrested union leaders in the war factories, put the factories under military supervision, and reduced their wages to the legal minimum.


Later in June 1794, Barere ordered the public prosecutor (Fouquier-Tinville) to arrest unionists at the mint and the war factories.

In July, the Paris municipality, led by Robespierre's ally, the Belgian sculptor Jean-Baptiste Fleuriot-Lescot, ordered restoration of the old maximum wage.

Following the fall of Robespierrein July 1794, the Convention under Barrasso, over opposition led by Collot d'Herbois, abolished the death penalty for speculators.

In December 1794, the Convention under Barras, over opposition led by Collot d'Herbois, abolished the maximum and restored free trade. Inflation rates of over 2000%, exacerbated by printing of assignats, ensued, and tens of thousands died of famine the following year. Most of those who died were outside Paris, since the government continued to subsidize meat and grain deliveries for Paris.

But hunger hit Paris as well, and in April 1795 hungry workers in Paris rebelled, culminating in an unsuccessful attack on the Convention. Following their defeat, hundreds were beaten to death by right-wing thugs organized by the Convention.

To cover the new deficits caused by war and food subsidies, the Directory on the initiative of La Reveilliere-Lepeaux printed more paper money and in December 1795 pushed through a forced loan from the rich.

In February 1796 the Directory destroyed a majority of assignats in an effort to stabilize the currency and in February 1797 the Directory pushed through a currency reform restoring a gold or silver standard. Inflation was lowered, but wages dropped and unemployment became widespread. Previously worthless assignats, now once again redeemable for face value for ecclesiastical and state property, made huge fortunes for speculators. To get gold and silver sufficient to redeem the assignats, the government obliged the army to invade Italy, and horses and mules were confiscated from peasants for the army, leading to more shortages and famine.

In October 1798, Neufchateau began addressing unemployment with a program of canals, roads, and an industrial fair in Paris. Napoleon continued these projects after seizing power in November 1799, as well as instituting a national lottery, raising income taxes, and regulations tax collections. In February 1800, he subsidized the creation of the Bank of France, a private central bank. Combined with plunder from his wars, these efforts succeeded in stemming inflation and balancing the budget. Unemployment rose in the cities and remained high throughout his tenure, but many, especially peasants, found jobs via his expansion of the military and bureaucracy. High inflation and famine (killing thousands) returned with the military reversals he began to suffer in 1812.


Environment: the most serious environmental issue for France ... which enjoyed a relatively pristine environment ... at the time was deforestation. When the abolition of feudal privilege in August 1789, the forests were opened to common use and in many places entire forests were cut down for firewood and lumber. Mild air pollution due to firewood and coal was an occasional issue as well.


Foreign relations: the Empire of Austria, ruled by Marie Antoinette's House of Hapsburg, was the most implacable foreign enemy of France and the main organizer of the coalitions against France. Its emperor was also the Holy Roman Emperor, but the King of Prussia was an increasingly powerful rival within the empire and sought to play off Austria and France against each other, playing a major role in the 1795-1799 peace between France and the Empire, although Prussia was also a major antagonist in the wars. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved by Napoleon following his victories in 1806.

As part of their fight against Austria and Prussia, the French supported the national independence movements led by the Polish nobility, which (along with the death of the liberal ruler Catherine the Great) helped crystallize Russian hostility to France.

The Ottoman Empire as the other great citadel of reaction in Europe was also very hostile to France, and the ongoing struggle between the Russians and Ottomans over control of the Black Sea, combined with French victories, helped push Russia back into an alliance with France between 1808 and 1812.

In the UK, the Tory government led by Pitt the Younger was hostile to the revolution from the beginning. But the Radical Whigs representing middle-class interests and religious dissenters, led by Charles James Fox, greeted the revolution with enthusiasm, leading the government to repress dissent and arrest dissidents. Other defenders of the Revolution included William Wordsworth, Joseph Priestley, Thomas Paine (who became a deputy to the Convention), Mary Wollstonecraft, and Wolfe Tone of the United Irishmen, a popular movement led by liberal Protestant landowners for an independent Irish Republic that was supported by the government of the Directory. Edmund Burke, an erstwhile leftist Whig politician, was alarmed at the popular enthusiasm for the Revolution, and became one of the key founders of modern conservative political philosophy in reaction, bringing much of the Whig Party with him into the conservative camp.

Portugal's anti-French policy trailed in the wake of its British ally. Spain, like the other conservative monarchies naturally hostile to the revolution, found itself at war with France following the French invasion of the Spanish Netherlands ... greeted with enthusiasm by the masses there, as were the French invasions of Germany ... but following French victories attempted an anti-British alliance with Directory France after 1795, and maintained this alliance until it was betrayed and invaded by Napoleon.

The rulers in Italy, including the pope, the kings of Naples and Spain, and the emperor of Austria, were forced to cede territory to the victorious French, and French victories permanently reremade the map of Italy more than anywhere else. The victorious French both annexed territory in the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany, and set up puppet governments there ... originally republics, then, increasingly, under Napoleon, monarchies.

Sweden turned against France to protest the executions of royal family members and to get British payment, but was defeated by a combined French-Russian force. Following Sweden's defeat, a popular movement led the king to name the French marshal Jean Bernadotte as his heir, and his house rules Sweden to this day.

Relations with the Haitian rebels were complicated. The Girondins allied themselves with the creole rebels against the right, while the Spanish initially allied themselves with the slave rebels. The slaves later allied themselves with the Gironde, followed by the Jacobins; while the creoles allied with the French right including Napoleon. The British meanwhile attempted to seize Hispaniola for themselves. The Federalist Party in the U.S., especially Hamilton, looked on the Haitian rebels with sympathy while the Democratic-Republicans led by Jefferson opposed them.

The U.S. initially was friendly toward the revolution, but refused French entreaties to join them. With the growing radicalism of the Revolution and the execution of the king, elite opinion grew more hostile. Washington, Hamilton, Jay (always anti-French and pro-British) and John Adams attacked the revolution while Thomas Jefferson defended it. Washington declared neutrality in French's revolutionary wars without consulting Congress, drawing protests from Jefferson and Madison.

In 1793 the French ambassador Edmond-Charles Genet arrived in the U.S. Against Adams's advice, Washington accepted his diplomatic credentials. But Genet's efforts to arouse support for his government, involve the U.S. in its wars, and encourage the proliferation of radical Democratic-Republican clubs, dedicated to the extension of the franchise and other democratic support, lost France support among elite policy-makers including Jefferson, but won a hearing among the plebeian urbanasses, especially in Charleston and in Philadelphia, where the influential newspaper editor William Duane lauded his efforts.

The Adams administration responded to ongoing French revolutionary efforts, the proliferation of Democratic-Republican societies, and the birth of the unpopular French Directory with the Alien and Sedition Acts, while pushing the U.S. into an undeclared naval war with France in response to French harassment of American merchant ships trading with Britain. Adams also objected to the so-called XYZ Affair in which American diplomats sent to France were asked for bribes by the government of the Directory.

Jefferson's new Democratic-Republican Party increasingly allied itself with the radicals in order to take power in 1801, but meanwhile had cooled on relations with France following the accession of Napoleon. Jefferson signed an embargo which nearly led to war with both France and Britain, and which became increasingly unpopular through its ineffectiveness. However, his administration's less pro-British tilt and the Louisiana Purchase relieved some of the military and financial pressure on France, freeing it up to fight in Europe, as did the War of 1812 commenced by the Madison government.


Government offices and programs: Under the ancien regime, France was a mishmash of local privileges and exceptions. In theory, the king was an absolute monarch ... but this power was not transferable to his ministers, who were unable to raise taxes without permission from the parlements, groups in traditional cities composed of nobles who bought their seats from previous holders of them.

The nobility was divided between the noblesse d'epee ... who had titles depending from the ancient equestrian families that founded France's feudal order ... and the noblesse de robe ... descendants of people who had been enrolled as a reward for their service to the king ... and the rivalry between these orders would have a big role on the early days of the revolution.

The rural areas included sharecroppers mostly raising hay for beef in most of the country, small yeoman farmers raising pigs and geese in the wooded north, and grapes in the east, and large commercial wheat farmers on the northern plains. All owed traditional taxes to their lords, usually nobles but sometimes clergy or commoners.

Besides this, the Church and state took an annual property tax (collected for the state by the Farmers-General, wealthy commoners who purchased the right to engage in this lucrative business), and nobles enjoyed a right to seize peasants' animals for plowing, to feed their pigeons on peasants' grain, to tax transactions at market, the crossing of rivers the use of wells which they alone had a right to dig, fishing, and the lighting of fires at home. In many parts of the country, the nobility or the clergy had exclusive rights to grain mills and could charge peasants to use them, while hand mills were outlawed. Nobles had the exclusive right to hunt and to keep ferrets. And in many areas, they had powers to enforce their own laws on their manors, including by issuing lettres de cachet allowing for seizure without warrant of named suspects.

Historically the peasants had rights to the use of common land for harvesting timber, pasture, and foraging. But in the decades leading up to the Revolution, the nobles and the wealthy peasants brought as much of that common land under their own control as possible.

Many of the smaller cities were under the control of feudal lords, but the biggest cities were "free cities" ruled by "municipalities" composed of wealthy individuals ... mostly commoners ... chosen by the king, usually in negotiation with the powerful "corporations" (artisans' guilds) ... to govern the cities in exchange for the payment of an annual tax. In 1776 the traditional restrictions on entrance to the corporations were reformed by the king, and anyone who paid the requisite taxes could become a master without having to go through apprenticeship to an established master. At the same time, journeymen (now meaning artisans who had not paid the fees) were barred from leaving their employers without written permission and from forming unions.

Paris was the undisputed center of finance. Bordeaux and Nantes got their wealth from sugar and slaves, Marseille from shipbuilding and spice imports, and textiles in the other major cities. Coal mines and iron foundries in the east made up most of a still nascent industry.


Cont'd.: The revolution only gradually changed this. Feudal privileges, officially outlawed in 1789, were in practice exercised freely until 1790, and in parts of France (the counter revolutionary northwest) until 1793, and they were officially restored by the restored monarchy in 1815, albeit difficult in practice to do more than tax tenants' property after that time. In the major cities including Paris, the electors assembled to choose the members of the Estates-General convened in 1789 remained in contact and became the basis for the Communes that exercised dual power side by side with the municipalities in 1791-1794. The municipalities remained in place but often had their leaders summarily replaced by the central government in Paris, which seldom interfered with local government unless rebellion resulted in military occupation of a town. Manorial privilege in rural areas was replaced with the authority of directorates for each department chosen by representative assemblies elected by local electors, based on Mirabeau's November 1789 proposal to reorganize the country's rural administration, and after 1791 in select places by the extraordinary powers of the Representatives on Mission sent from Paris, who were given dictatorial control over areas to which the central government delegated them.

Under Napoleon, the central bureaucracy was greatly multiplied and the administration of the entire country brought under a defined legal code, a system that remained in place under the restored monarchy.
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Health care: Health care in Revolutionary France was primitive. The germ theory of disease had yet to be discovered, quack therapies like Mesmerism and hydrotherapy (in cases in which it was not useful) were common, and bleeding (although disapproved in medical schools) was still widely practiced by the most esteemed doctors. Surgery was rapidly improving, and the Revolution replaced barber-surgeons with the requirement that surgeons be doctors. But surgery continued to be a frequent cause of death as did childbed fever. Deaths from malnutrition were common, before and after the revolution, especially in the July-October months before the fall grain harvest.

The hospitals (and schools) in France in 1789 were run by the Catholic Church. Following the 1790 nationalization of church property they were put under control of local civil authorities.

An epidemic of yellow fever in 1803-1804 killed an estimated 35,000 French soldiers in the Haiti campaign.


Civil and human rights: in August 1789, in response to peasant revolts, titles and feudal privileges were abolished by the National Assembly on a motion by Leguen de Kerangal, a Breton noble of the robe. Opposition was led by Isaac Le Chapelier, a corporation lawyer allied with Necker. At the insistence of duc d'Aiguillon, the richest man in France besides the king, and an ally of Lafayette, feudal privileges bearing down on the other orders had to be redeemed by an indemnity paid by them, a decision denounced by Marat and reversed in February 1790 by the constituent assembly on the initiative of Henri Gregoire, a bishop allied with Robespierre, over opposition led by the duc d'Orleans.
Note an error on my part. Orleans prevailed on the issue at this time. A second attempt to abolish redemption of feudal privileges was led in the Legislative Assembly by Couthon in February 1792 and again went down to defeat due to opposition led by Brissot. In June, though, Couthon's party was successful in abolishing the taxes on property transfers.


History: The nation of France had its roots in the breakup of Charlemagne's revival of the Roman Empire. France maintained its independence with the defeat of the Umayyad Caliphate at the Battle of Tours. The king of France for a time dominated the Catholic Church following his defeat of the Normans and the seat of the church was even moved to France for a time before the Holy Roman Empire and the House of Borgia allied against the French. The French played a prominent role in the Crusades and setting up Crusader kingdoms at the same time, and the king was closely allied with the Knights Templar before he colluded with the pope to suppress and rob them. Peasant rebellion and communistic heresies (suppressed by brutal Inquisitions) accompanied centralization and the growth of royal authority in the High Middle Ages, and by building coalitions against the emperors and the English France prospered while the chief European power, Spain, stagnated due to inflation occasioned by the mass of American silver and gold brought over and the stultifying effects of conservative government. Religious wars between Catholics and Calvinists ended with the compromise selection of the king of Navarre, leader of the Calvinist Party, as King, on condition he would convert to Catholicism. A terrific slaughter of Protestants occasioned the alliance with Austria and the period of decadence for the Court, culminating in the 1785 "diamond necklace affair" where an associate of the Queen conspired to defraud the royal jewelers ... whispers of the Queen's personal complicity aroused elite opinion against the Court.

After King Louis XVI announced his intention to tax the nation without the parlements' consent, in May 1789 the parlement cities joined protests organized by the Duc de Clermont-Tonnerre, a noble de robe, and joined by merchants, priests, and bishops throughout the nation demanding that the Estates-General, an ancient parliament that had last met in 1689, be called up.

The parlement of Paris decreed that the Estates-General would follow its ancient custom of voting by order (each estate, the nobility, the clergy, and the bourgeoisie, would meet separately), but gave way to the popular electoral assemblies' demands to double the representation of the Third Estate.

The fight to replace this old form with a single assembly with a majority vote ... what became the National Assembly ... was led by a radical ethnic Breton clique led by the comte de Lanjuinais (elected as a representative of the Third Estate) and the lawyer Isaac Le Chapelle, who founded the Jacobin Club to help them with this fight. They were aided by the fact that the representatives of the clergy, elected by all the clergy, were mostly parish priests sympathetic to the "Commons." Led by Gregoire over opposition by du Maury, a trickle of representatives of the clergy began to join the Commons in June at the invitation of Sieyes, an abbot elected to represent the Third Estate. As the clergy made common cause with the Commons, and it became clear that the liberal nobility could not succeed in its aims without their help, Mirabeau led the fight for the nobility to join the National Assembly, which on the initiative of the judge Jean Mounier rejected the king's call for them to disperse.

With the stock markets closing in solidarity with the National Assembly, most of the remaining clergy and nobility joining the National Assembly, and national guards mutinying and disarming the Swiss Guards loyal to the king, in June the king backed down and formally invited the remaining clergy and nobility to join in unicameral session with the Commons to write a constitution, and the Constituent Assembly was formed.

The king and his new minister of war, the duc de Broglie, began surrounding Paris with Swiss and German mercenaries, while Desmoulins, urged on by Mirabeau and the duc d'Orleans, organized the people to seize arms. The king ordered the civilian militia, the French Guards, to disperse, but they refused.

On July 12, bankers armed with axes and pistols set fire to the tollbooth of the Farmers-General and the German cavalry responded by riding their horses into crowds of workers and their families. On July 14, thousands of unarmed merchants and others led by a city official, Louis Ethis de Corny, seized tens of thousands of muskets while a crowd ofostly ironworkers armed with iron bars and backed up by the National Guard, led by the astronomer Jean Bailly stormed the Bastille, freed the prisoners, and seized its cannon, following 100 deaths from among their ranks at the hands of the Swiss Guards.

The French Guard was renamed the National Guard and put under the command of the Marquis de Lafayette, Bailly was named mayor, and ... following rural rebellions against the old municipalities by lawyers and other urban leaders who appointed new municipalities of their own ... the king acknowledged the triumph of the Revolution and promised to rule with the consultation of the Constituent Assembly.

Peasant rebellions meanwhile in July and August prompted the legal abolition of feudalism.


Cont'd.: It was at this time that the "patriotic" or parliamentary party began dividing into factions, with the Jacobin faction led by lawyer Antoine Barnave supporting a Declaration of Rights and a Moderate faction led by Baron Malouet opposing one. As the new Constitution was prepared, the lawyer Armand-Gaston Camus led the fight for a single chamber (favored by the Commons) and against a royal veto, while Mounier and his ally the Marquis de Lally-Tollendal led the fight for a house of lords and royal veto. With the support of the provincial nobility, who had no prospect of sitting in the house of lords, Camus won the push for a single chamber, but Barnave reached an agreement with the court to allow a suspending veto for four years in exchange for the king's assent to the decrees abolishing feudalism, which the king however refused to sign.

In October, amid economic crisis and rumors of counterrevolution, when officers at a royal banquet insulted the revolution, a group composed mostly of fishmonger and other poor women, led by the legal clerk Stanislas Millard, a hero of the Bastille, stormed the Versailles, cowed the National Guard into joining them against Lafayette's orders, and brought the royal family to Paris, from which the National Assembly on Mirabeau's proposal forbade them to leave.

With the monarchist party defeated and discredited, Mounier resigned as president of the Assembly, which reorganized itself into factions allied with specific power centers. The political terms "right" and "left" take their names from this period, when the favorites of the Queen sat in the place of honor on the right while those she despised sat on the left.

On the far right sat the Noirs ("Blacks," so called because it was the color of the Queen) led by Malouet, the openly counterrevolutionary party of the aristocrats. To their left were the unconditional monarchists led by the chemist, baron, and farmer-general Antoine de Lavoisier, who supported the dispossession of the nobility but backed royal absolutism. To their left sat the constitutional monarchists led by Lafayette, who allied himself with the king. To their left was a "triumvirate" organized in alliance with the duc d'Orleans, who hoped to use the divisions among the elite to make himself king. The rival forces making up this alliance eventually broke up under pressure from the left into a Paris bourgeois faction with economic ties to the Court, led by Barnave and often allied with Lavoisier; a liberal bourgeois faction allied with Mirabeau (whose corruption was too infamous for him to become a minister himself; indeed it was largely in response to Mirabeau's ambition that the Assembly on Marat's proposal forbade its own members from becoming ministers) and led by lawyer Adrien Duport; and a party of the comte de Lameth, composed of various liberal enemies of Mirabeau. On the far left, supported by the popular societies, and seeking an alliance with Mirabeau against their enemies on the right, were the lawyers Francois Buzot, Jerome Petion, and Maximilien Robespierre, and Gregoire.

As housewives encouraged by Marat rose up for bread in Paris, the Assembly overwhelmingly voted to impose martial law as demanded by Bailly, with Barnave, Buzot, and Petion demanding the imposition of martial law and only Robespierre and Mirabeau opposing it. Danton, then allied with Mirabeau, organized a revolt by printers and others in Paris which not only saved Marat from a threatened arrest but also pushed the Commune toward the left.

The new electoral law in the Constitution, backed by the abbe Sieyes over opposition led by Gregoire, Duport, and Robespierre, restricted the suffrage to about 55% of the adult male population (those without property) ... set a steeper property requirement to be elected to the electoral assemblies (which were forbidden from continuing to meet after voting to prevent them from becoming popular foci) ... and restricted eligibility for the Legislative Assembly to wealthy landowners.

In July 1790 the comte de Provence, supported by Mirabeau, attempted an unsuccessful coup supported by the noirs, but, supported by Lafayette, both Provence and Mirabeau escaped punishment. Mirabeau then reconciled with Lameth, who sponsored a law allowing him to become a minister, setting the stage for a realignment of the "Moderates" whereby Lameth led the court party which now absorbed the old far right, while Lafayette led the liberal nobility's opposition.


Cont'd.: In July 1790, hundreds of mutinying soldiers, protesting embezzlement of their wages and laws prohibiting fraternization with the National Guard, were massacred on orders from Lafayette and his cousin, the marquis de Bouille.

In April 1791, Mirabeau died, and was replaced at court by the Lameth brothers, considered enemies by the king. That same month, the king was forced by the National Guard (defying Lafayette again) to remain in Paris and receive Easter mass from a loyal priest, and nobles and bishops forbidden by the National Guard to stay at the Tuileries Palace. In response, the Queen with her brother the emperor of Austria hatched a plot to escape to Bouille's regiment, which would join the Austrians in fighting the revolution. This escape attempt was foiled in June by a rural postmaster, Jean-Baptiste Drouet, who recognized the king from his portrait on the paper money, and organized the local National Guard to arrest him and escorts him back to Paris.

Meanwhile in May, the Constituent Assembly adopted Robespierre's proposal to make its own members ineligible for election to the Legislative Assembly created by the new constitution, which would replace it in September.

Tens of thousands of butchers and other workers in Paris, supported by Hebert and Desmoulins, as well as the Marquis de Gouvoin, who commanded the troops guarding the king, marched demanding the prosecution of the king, and Gregoire and Robespierre argued for it. But not only Lafayette, Bailly, and the right-wing leader Marquis de Beauharnais (father of Napoleon's future wife and empress Josephine), but also Charles Lameth (an officer and brother of Baron Alexandre and closely allied with him) and Sieyes, citing the threat of civil war and disruption of the Constitution, advocated restoring him to his powers, but with the prerogative of the veto taken away. Barnave pushed through a compromise whereby the king would have his royal powers suspended pending his assent to the new Constitution.

In July, tens of thousands of butchers and other sans-culottes, encouraged by Hebert and other leftists, marched to present a petition demanding prosecution of the king, and hundreds were massacred on the order of Lafayette, while the Jacobins split over support for the popular movement. Afterward, many leftist leaders including Hebert, Desmoulins, Danton, and Fabre d'Eglantine, were arrested. It was under these circumstances, with a heavy property qualification for voting and many abstentions, that the right swept the Paris elections and the elections in most provinces.

In September, the king, urged on by Lameth and the "triumvirate," signed the Constitution and proposed a general amnesty that would free both the leftist radicals and his own co-conspirators on the right.

As right-wing rural revolts began to break out in October in the Northwest, Southeast, and South, inviting the Austrians and Spanish to join them, and resulting in the massacre of dozens of rightists by radical merchants in the old papal city of Avignon, the Legislative Assembly and Jacobins split into a war party, which was supported secretly by the king (who hoped war would result in French defeat and the restoration of his absolutism) and openly by a leftist clique led by the lawyer Jacques Brissot, who hoped war would discredit the ruling triumvirs and channel the French hoi polloi's revolutionary impulses into foreign adventure, and his allies in the Assembly Maximin Isnard, a perfume dealer, and Marie-Jean Herault de Sechelles, a judge. Opposition to the war in the Assembly was essentially nonexistent, but in the Jacobins was led by Robespierre and his allies
Camille Desmoulins, a lawyer, Jean-Paul Marat, a Swiss-born doctor, and Jacques Billaud-Varenne, a ticket-seller at the theater ... who opposed war because it would expose the Republic to danger and move the revolutionaries out of Paris ... and at court by Alexandre de Lameth and his ally the baron de Lessart, who opposed a war that might upset the status quo.

Meanwhile a division among the Moderates between the supporters of Lameth (allied with the king) and supporters of Lafayette (allied with the duc d'Orleans) allowed the left to ally with the Lamethists for the November municipal elections, electing Petion mayor and Danton deputy procurer.


Cont'd.: France declared war on Austria in April and quickly met with a series of defeats. By June the king felt strong enough to dismiss the Brissotin ministry led by the comte de Narbonne and the vicomte de Roland, who replaced the Lameth faction in early 1792, with one led by general Charles-Francois Dumouriez, a Lameth ally. Lafayette, still intriguing against the Lamethists, denounced Dumouriez and openly advised the king to ally with him in an army coup against the Legislative Assembly, which the king refused to do. In the face of this threat Robespierre and Brissot patched up their old differences. Brewers and others led by Antoine Santerre, himself a brewer, armed with muskets, and welcomed by the lawyers Pierre Vergniaud (president of the Legislative Assembly) and Marguerite-Elie Gaudet, Brissot's allies in the Assembly, marched armed to the Legislative Assembly, demanded Lafayette's arrest, and then held the king prisoner in his palace before being convinced by Petion to disperse, following which at Dumouriez's insistence Petion and Pierre-Louis Manuel, the commute procurer, were dismissed.