Antoine-François Momoro

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Antoine-François Momoro
Antoine-Francois Momoro.jpg
Antoine-François Momoro
Besançon, France
Died24 March 1794
Paris, France
Known forOriginator of the phrase ″Unité, Indivisibilité de la République; Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité ou la mort″, one of mottos of the French Republic
Antoine-Francois MomoroSignature.jpg

Antoine-François Momoro (1756 – 24 March 1794) was a French printer, bookseller and politician during the French Revolution. An important figure in the Cordeliers club and in Hébertisme, he is the originator of the phrase ″Unité, Indivisibilité de la République; Liberté, égalité, fraternité ou la mort″, one of the mottoes of the French Republic. [1] [2] [3]

French Revolution Revolution in France, 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.

Cordeliers Political group during the French Revolution (1790-1794)

The Society of the Friends of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, mainly known as Cordeliers Club, was a populist club during the French Revolution from 1790 to 1794, when the Reign of Terror ended and the Thermidorian Reaction began.

<i>Liberté, égalité, fraternité</i> national motto of France and the Republic of Haiti

Liberté, égalité, fraternité, French for "liberty, equality, fraternity", is the national motto of France and the Republic of Haiti, and is an example of a tripartite motto. Although it finds its origins in the French Revolution, it was then only one motto among others and was not institutionalized until the Third Republic at the end of the 19th century. Debates concerning the compatibility and order of the three terms began at the same time as the Revolution. It is also the motto of the Grand Orient de France and the Grande Loge de France.



Antoine Francois Momoro,
"First Printer of National Liberty"
(Musee de la Revolution francaise) Antoine Francois Momoro.gif
Antoine François Momoro,
"First Printer of National Liberty"
(Musée de la Révolution française)

"First Printer of Liberty"

Momoro's family was originally from Spain but settled in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France. Antoine-François Momoro studied in his home town and moved to Paris while still very young. He showed a particular talent as a typographer and he was admitted to the Parisian printers' guild in 1787. He was one of many publishers in the French capital, but he established his credentials quickly by issuing his own highly regarded printer's manual, Traité élémentaire de l'imprimerie, ou le manuel de l'imprimeur (1793). The outbreak of the Revolution and the declaration of the freedom of the press in August 1789 massively boosted his output and would change his destiny.

Franche-Comté Region of France

Franche-Comté is a cultural and historical region of eastern France. It is composed of the modern departments of Doubs, Jura, Haute-Saône and the Territoire de Belfort. In 2016, its population was 1,180,397.

Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely. Such freedom implies the absence of interference from an overreaching state; its preservation may be sought through constitutional or other legal protections.

An open opponent of even a constitutional monarchy and of the Roman Catholic religion, Momoro keenly threw himself into the revolutionary cause and put his abilities at the service of the new ideas. At the start of the Revolution he bought up several presses, opened a press at 171 rue de la Harpe and launched himself into politics. His initial output remained cautious however, as shown by his refusal, in June 1789, to be the first publisher of La France Libre by Camille Desmoulins. [4] He won the exclusive concession to typography and printing from the Paris Commune and became secretary to the Société des droits de l'homme, which later became the Club des Cordeliers , whose journal he published as well as becoming one of its loudest orators.

Camille Desmoulins French politician

Lucie-Simplice-Camille-Benoît Desmoulins was a journalist and politician who played an important role in the French Revolution. Desmoulins was tried and executed alongside Danton when the Committee of Public Safety reacted against Dantonist opposition. He was a schoolmate of Maximilien Robespierre and a close friend and political ally of Georges Danton, who were influential figures in the French Revolution.

Paris Commune (French Revolution) government during French Revolution

The Paris Commune during the French Revolution was the government of Paris from 1792 until 1795. Established in the Hôtel de Ville just after the storming of the Bastille, it consisted of 144 delegates elected by the 48 divisions of the city. The Paris Commune became insurrectionary in the summer of 1792, essentially refusing to take orders from the central French government. It took charge of routine civic functions but is best known for mobilizing extreme views and actions among the people and for its campaign to dechristianize the churches and the people. It lost much power in 1794 and was replaced in 1795.

Momoro was also among the signatories of the anti-monarchical petition which led to the Champ de Mars massacre, an event that would end in formalizing the split between the moderates and extremists. In the wake of this affair, which led to his imprisonment until September 1791, Momoro resumed his printing activities under his self-given title of "first printer of the national liberty", publishing Jacques-René Hébert's radical newspaper, Le Père Duchesne .

<i>Le Père Duchesne</i> periodical literature

Le Père Duchesne was an extreme radical newspaper during the French Revolution, edited by Jacques Hébert, who published 385 issues from September 1790 until eleven days before his death by guillotine, which took place on March 24, 1794.


Fete de la Raison a Notre-Dame
(Etching, 1793, Paris, BNF, Estampes) Fete de la Raison 1793.jpg
Fête de la Raison à Notre-Dame
(Etching, 1793, Paris, BNF, Estampes)

A member of the section du Théâtre-Français, in June 1792 he, Danton and Chaumette wrote and signed a declaration which suppressed the distinction between passive and active citizens in the section. He then took an active part in the insurrection of 10 August 1792. He more and more supported the enragés more than the more moderate indulgents. He was elected by the section to the Directoire du département de Paris and it was then that he and mayor Pache inscribed the motto Unité, Indivisibilité de la République; Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité ou la mort on the façades of all public buildings. [5] After a recruiting mission in Calvados and Eure, he returned to Paris where he was made president of the section du Théâtre-Français.

Pierre Gaspard Chaumette 18th-century French politician

Pierre Gaspard Chaumette was a French politician of the Revolutionary period who served as the president of the Paris Commune and played a leading role in the establishment of the Reign of Terror. He was one of the ultra-radical enragés of the revolution, an ardent critic of Christianity who was one of the leaders of the dechristianization of France. His radical positions resulted in his alienation from Maximilien Robespierre, and he was arrested on charges of being a counterrevolutionary and executed.

Jean-Nicolas Pache French politician

Jean-Nicolas Pache was a French politician who served as Mayor of Paris from 1793 to 1794.

He took an active part in dechristianisation and was a principal proponent of the Cult of Reason. It was his wife, Sophie Momoro (née Fournier), who played the part of the Goddess at the cult's infamous "Festival of Reason" on 20 Brumaire, Year II (10 November 1793).

Cult of Reason religion

The Cult of Reason was France's first established state-sponsored atheistic religion, intended as a replacement for Roman Catholicism during the French Revolution. After holding sway for barely a year, in 1794 it was officially replaced by the rival Cult of the Supreme Being, promoted by Robespierre. Both cults were officially banned in 1801 by Napoleon Bonaparte with his Law on Cults of 18 Germinal, Year X.

He was sent into the Vendée in May 1793, where he acted as deputy to Charles-Philippe Ronsin at the siege of the état-major at Saumur, in a mission to ensure the army fighting against the revolt there was well supplied. On his return to Paris, in a long Rapport sur la politique de la Vendée fait au comité de Salut Public, he explained the reasons for setbacks to Ronsin's strategy in the Vendée and defended General Rossignol, contributing to his rehabilitation.

When Marat was assassinated on 13 July 1793 by Charlotte Corday, Momoro aspired to succeed him as champion of the people and their cause. He persuaded the Cordeliers to go ahead with the publication of the L'Ami du Peuple at his press.


After working for the fall of the Girondists in the struggle between the Commune and the Convention, he participated in attacks on Danton, Robespierre (whom he accused of modérantisme), [6] and the Committee of Public Safety. Pushed onwards by a report by Saint-Just to the Convention denouncing the "complot de l'étranger" woven by the Indulgents and Exagérés, the committee decided on the arrest of the Hébertistes on 13 March 1794. The Revolutionary Tribunal condemned Momoro to death, and he loudly replied "You accuse me, who has given everything for the Revolution!" He was guillotined with Hébert, Ronsin, Vincent and other leading Hébertistes the following afternoon, 4 Germinal, Year II (24 March 1794). [7]

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  1. Latham, Edward (1906). Famous Sayings and Their Authors: A Collection of Historical Sayings in English, French, German, Greek, Italian, and Latin. London: Swan Sonnenschein. p. 147. OCLC   4697187.
  2. Amable Guillaume P. Brugière de Barante (1851). Histoire de la Convention nationale (in French). Langlois et Leclercq. p. 322. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  3. John Boyd Thacher (1905). Outlines of the French revolution told in autographs. Weed-Parsons Printing Co. p. 8. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  4. "Association Camille Desmoulins, Biographie de Camille Desmoulin, 3. Brochures et pamphlets". Archived from the original on 4 April 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  5. Thompson J. M. The French Revolution. — Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1959, p. 356
  6. Discours de Momoro aux Cordeliers, 12 February 1794
  7. Doyle, William (1989); The Oxford History of the French Revolution; Clarendon Press; ISBN   0-19-822781-7. See p.270: "Among those who went to the scaffold... on the afternoon of the twenty-fourth... [was] the leader of section Marat, Momoro."