Anacharsis Cloots

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Baron de Cloots engraved by Levachez Portrait of Jean-Baptiste du Val-de-Grace, baron de Cloots, aka Anacharsis Cloots.jpg
Baron de Cloots engraved by Levachez

Jean-Baptiste du Val-de-Grâce, baron de Cloots (24 June 1755 – 24 March 1794), better known as Anacharsis Cloots (also spelled Clootz), was a Prussian nobleman who was a significant figure in the French Revolution. [1] Perhaps the first to theorize world government, he was also an anarchist. He was nicknamed "orator of mankind", "citoyen de l'humanité" and "a personal enemy of God". [2]

Baron is a rank of nobility or title of honour, often hereditary. The female equivalent is baroness.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Born near Kleve, at the castle of Gnadenthal  [ de ], he belonged to a noble Prussian family of Dutch origin. The young Cloots, heir to a great fortune, was sent to Paris at age eleven to complete his education, and became attracted to the theories of his uncle the abbé Cornelius de Pauw (1739–1799), philosophe , geographer and diplomat at the court of Frederick II of Prussia. His father placed him in the military academy of Berlin, but he withdrew at the age of twenty and travelled through Europe, preaching his revolutionary philosophy and spending his money as a man of pleasure.

Kleve Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Kleve is a town in the Lower Rhine region of northwestern Germany near the Dutch border and the river Rhine. From the 11th century onwards, Cleves was capital of a county and later a duchy. Today, Cleves is the capital of the district of Cleves in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The city is home to one of the campuses of the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences.

Abbé is the French word for abbot. It is the title for lower-ranking Catholic clergymen in France.

Cornelius Franciscus de Pauw or Cornelis de Pauw was a Dutch philosopher, geographer and diplomat at the court of Frederick the Great of Prussia.

Revolution

Ecrits revolutionnaires by Anacharsis Cloots, Champ Libre Anacharsis Cloots - Ecrits revolutionnaires.jpg
Écrits révolutionnaires by Anacharsis Cloots, Champ Libre

On the breaking out of the Revolution, Cloots returned in 1789 to Paris, thinking the opportunity favorable for establishing his dream of a universal family of nations. On 19 June 1790 he appeared at the bar of the National Constituent Assembly at the head of thirty-six foreigners, and, in the name of this embassy of the human race, declared that the world adhered to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. After this, he was known as the orator of the human race, by which title he called himself, dropping that of baron, and substituting for his baptismal names the pseudonym of Anacharsis, from the famous philosophical romance of the abbé Jean-Jacques Barthélemy.

National Constituent Assembly (France) former political body formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789 during the first stages of the French Revolution

The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789 during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen foundational document of the French Revolution

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, set by France's National Constituent Assembly in 1789, is a human civil rights document from the French Revolution.

Anacharsis Scythian philosopher

Anacharsis was a Scythian philosopher who travelled from his homeland on the northern shores of the Black Sea to Athens in the early 6th century BC and made a great impression as a forthright, outspoken "barbarian". Reputedly a forerunner of the Cynics, none of his works has survived.

In 1792 he placed 12,000 livres at the disposal of the French Republic for the arming of forty or fifty fighters in the cause of man against tyranny (see French Revolutionary Wars ). After the riots of 10 August he became an even more prominent supporter of new ideas, and declared himself "the personal enemy of Jesus Christ", [3] abjuring all revealed religions.

French livre currency of Kingdom of France and its predecessor state of West Francia from 781 to 1794

The livre was the currency of Kingdom of France and its predecessor state of West Francia from 781 to 1794. Several different livres existed, some concurrently. The livre was the name of both units of account and coins.

French Revolutionary Wars series of conflicts fought between the French Republic and several European monarchies from 1792 to 1802

The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted the French Republic against Great Britain, Austria and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.

Jesus Central figure of Christianity

Jesus, also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity and is widely described as the most influential person in history. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah (Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.

Convention

In the same month he had the rights of French citizenship conferred on him; and, having in September been elected a member of the National Convention, he voted in favor of capital punishment for King Louis XVI, justifying it in the name of the human race, and was an active partisan of the war of propaganda.

National Convention single-chamber assembly in France from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795

The National Convention was the first government of the French Revolution, following the two-year National Constituent Assembly and the one-year Legislative Assembly. Created after the great insurrection of 10 August 1792, it was the first French government organized as a republic, abandoning the monarchy altogether. The Convention sat as a single-chamber assembly from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795.

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a government-sanctioned practice whereby a person is killed by the state as a punishment for a crime. The sentence that someone be punished in such a manner is referred to as a death sentence, whereas the act of carrying out the sentence is known as an execution. Crimes that are punishable by death are known as capital crimes or capital offences, and they commonly include offences such as murder, mass murder, terrorism, treason, espionage, offenses against the State, such as attempting to overthrow government, piracy, drug trafficking, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, but may include a wide range of offences depending on a country. Etymologically, the term capital in this context alluded to execution by beheading.

Louis XVI of France King of France and Navarre

Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as Citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.

Execution

Excluded at the insistence of Maximilien Robespierre from the Jacobin Club, he remained a foreigner in many eyes. When the Committee of Public Safety levelled accusations of treason against the Hébertists, they also implicated Cloots to give substance to their charge of a foreign plot. Although his innocence was manifest, he was condemned and subsequently guillotined on 24 March 1794. [4] He incongruously followed Vincent, Ronsin, Momoro and the rest of the Hébertist leadership to the scaffold, in front of the largest crowd ever assembled for a public execution. [5]

Maximilien Robespierre French revolutionary lawyer and politician

Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre was a French lawyer and politician, as well as one of the best known and most influential figures associated with the French Revolution. As a member of the Estates-General, the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, Robespierre was an outspoken advocate for the citizen without a voice, for their unrestricted admission to the National Guard, to public offices, and for the right to petition. He campaigned for universal suffrage, abolition of celibacy, religious tolerance and the abolition of slavery in the French colonies. He played an important role after the Storming of the Tuileries, which led to the establishment of a French Republic on 22 September 1792.

Committee of Public Safety De facto executive government in France (1793–1794)

The Committee of Public Safety, created in April 1793 by the National Convention and then restructured in July 1793, formed the de facto executive government in France during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), a stage of the French Revolution. The Committee of Public Safety succeeded the previous Committee of General Defence and assumed its role of protecting the newly established republic against foreign attacks and internal rebellion. As a wartime measure, the Committee—composed at first of nine and later of twelve members—was given broad supervisory powers over military, judicial and legislative efforts. It was formed as an administrative body to supervise and expedite the work of the executive bodies of the Convention and of the government ministers appointed by the Convention. As the Committee tried to meet the dangers of a coalition of European nations and counter-revolutionary forces within the country, it became more and more powerful.

The Hébertists, or Exaggerators were a radical revolutionary political group associated with the populist journalist Jacques Hébert, a member of the Cordeliers club. They came to power during the Reign of Terror and played a significant role in the French Revolution.

Thought

Cloots was an original political thinker who crafted his own interpretation of the meaning of the French Revolution. He was a proponent of the world state, and he sought to promote a more broad-minded and internationalist understanding of the Revolution's potential. He imagined the institutions of the world state along the lines of those of the French Revolutionary Republic. Cloots's thought was expressed in several works, most importantly in his Bases constitutionnelles de la République du genre humain. [6]

Works

Signature of Anacharsis Cloots Anacharsis ClootsSignature.jpg
Signature of Anacharsis Cloots

Related Research Articles

References

Notes

  1. Doyle, William (1989); The Oxford History of the French Revolution; Clarendon Press. See p. 160: "... Anacharsis Clootz, a wealthy Prussian nobleman, who had left France in 1785 vowing never to return until the Bastille had fallen."
  2. Siegfried Weichlein, "Cosmopolitanism, Patriotism, Nationalism", Unity and Diversity in European Culture C. 1800, ed. Tim Blanning and Hagen Schulze (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 96.
  3. Fremont-Barnes, Gregory, Encyclopedia of the Age of Political Revolutions and New Ideologies, 1760–1815, p. 329, Greenwood Pub. Group 2007
  4. Siegfried Weichlein, "Cosmopolitanism, Patriotism, Nationalism", Unity and Diversity in European Culture C. 1800, ed. Tim Blanning and Hagen Schulze (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 97.
  5. Doyle, 1989; p. 270. |"To substantiate the charge of a foreign plot, a clutch of colorful aliens perished with them too, including Clootz, who bade farewell to his beloved human race in front of the biggest crowd ever to surround the guillotine."
  6. Alexander Bevilacqua, "Conceiving the Republic of Mankind: The Political Thought of Anacharsis Cloots", History of European Ideas (2012), pp. 1–20.

Sources