Fédéré

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Le Volontaire de 1792, public statue in Remiremont Remiremont Volontaire.jpg
Le Volontaire de 1792, public statue in Remiremont

The term "fédérés" (sometimes translated to English as "federates") most commonly refers to the troops who volunteered for the French National Guard in the summer of 1792 during the French Revolution. The fédérés of 1792 effected a transformation of the Guard from a constitutional monarchist force into a republican revolutionary force.

National Guard (France) 1789–1872 military reserve and police branch of Frances military

The National Guard is a French military, gendarmerie, and police reserve force, active in its current form since 2016 but originally founded in 1789 during the French Revolution.

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.

A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the sovereign exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchy differs from absolute monarchy in that constitutional monarchs are bound to exercise their powers and authorities within the limits prescribed within an established legal framework. Constitutional monarchies range from countries such as Monaco, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain, where the constitution grants substantial discretionary powers to the sovereign, to countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Japan, where the monarch retains no formal authorities.

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"Fédérés" has several other closely related meanings, also discussed in this article.

The fédérés of 1790

The term "fédérés" derives from the Fête de la Fédération , the annual celebration during the revolutionary era, celebrated at the Champ de Mars in Paris on the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. The Bastille fell on 14 July 1789. At the first fête de la Fédération in 1790, Talleyrand said Mass, Lafayette addressed the crowd, and King Louis XVI gave a secular sermon. The attendees, known as fédérés, came from all over France and brought the spirit of the revolution back to the provinces.

<i>Fête de la Fédération</i> ceremony

The Fête de la Fédération was a massive holiday festival held throughout France in honour of the French Revolution. It is the precursor of the Bastille Day which is celebrated every year in France on 14 July, celebrating the Revolution itself, as well as National Unity.

Champ de Mars large public green space in Paris, France

The Champ de Mars is a large public greenspace in Paris, France, located in the seventh arrondissement, between the Eiffel Tower to the northwest and the École Militaire to the southeast. The park is named after the Campus Martius in Rome, a tribute to the Latin name of the Roman God of war. The name also alludes to the fact that the lawns here were formerly used as drilling and marching grounds by the French military.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zürich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018.

The fédérés of 1792

However, the term "fédérés" as used by historians today almost always refers to the volunteer troops of 1792. The third fête of 1792 was of a far more radical nature than that of 1790, and prefigured the militant insurrections later in the year.

In early May, 1792, the Girondin Minister of War Joseph Servan made the proposal to bring armed volunteers from the provinces to Paris. The citizen-soldiers were to be invited to the city for the third fête, but they were also intended to become an effective supplement to the regular army. They were to receive military training in Paris and eventually take their place at the frontlines in the French Revolutionary War. [1]

Joseph Marie Servan de Gerbey French general

Joseph Marie Servan de Gerbey was a French general. During the Revolution he served twice as Minister of War and briefly led the Army of the Western Pyrenees. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 33.

The prospect of thousands of new militiamen descending upon the capital for an indeterminate length of time was a highly contentious one. Some, like the king, saw it as a plot to stack Paris full with anti-monarchists, while others, like Maximilien Robespierre, feared the outsiders might be used as a provincial counterweight to the radical Parisian sans-culottes. [1]

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 Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, he campaigned for universal manhood suffrage, and the abolition of both celibacy for the clergy and of slavery. Robespierre was an outspoken advocate for the citizens without a voice, for their unrestricted admission to the National Guard, to public offices, and for the right to carry arms in self-defence. Robespierre played an important part in the agitation which brought about the fall of the French monarchy in August 1792 and the summoning of a National Convention.

<i>Sans-culottes</i> radical left-wing partisans of the lower classes during French Revolution

The sans-culottes were the common people of the lower classes in late 18th century France, a great many of whom became radical and militant partisans of the French Revolution in response to their poor quality of life under the Ancien Régime. The word sans-culotte, which is opposed to that of the aristocrat, came in vogue in 1792, during the demonstration of 20 June 1792. The name sans-culottes refers to their clothing, and through that to their lower-class status: culottes were the fashionable silk knee-breeches of the 18th-century nobility and bourgeoisie, and the working class sans-culottes wore pantaloons, or trousers, instead. The sans-culottes, most of them urban labourers, served as the driving popular force behind the revolution. They were judged by the other revolutionaries as "radicals" because they advocated a direct democracy, that is to say, without intermediaries such as members of parliament. Though ill-clad people and ill-equipped, with little or no support from the upper class, they made up the bulk of the Revolutionary army during the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars.

King Louis employed his constitutional prerogative to quash the proposal, and this use of the greatly unpopular royal veto was met with a storm of protest from all quarters. In the ensuing political struggle, the king dismissed the entire Girondin ministry. [2] With the government in disarray, radical agitators seized the issue and it rapidly became the source of massive citywide unrest. [1]

A veto is the power to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation. A veto can be absolute, as for instance in the United Nations Security Council, whose permanent members can block any resolution, or it can be limited, as in the legislative process of the United States, where a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate will override a Presidential veto of legislation. A veto may give power only to stop changes, like the US legislative veto, or to also adopt them, like the legislative veto of the Indian President, which allows him to propose amendments to bills returned to the Parliament for reconsideration.

Eventually thousands of the provincial volunteers arrived regardless of the king's disapproval, and they were given a warm welcome by members of the Legislative Assembly. Robespierre himself, now fully supportive, greeted the provincial "defenders of liberty" as the "last hope of the country." [3]

The fédérés issue helped lead to a series of Parisian insurrections throughout the spring and summer, culminating in the assault on the Tuileries Palace on 10 August. [4] The fédérés themselves played a large part in the Tuileries assault, and afterwards they contributed further to the climate of republican solidarity by adopting an uncommonly grateful public posture towards the female participants of the Revolution. In a post-victory ceremony, leaders of the fédérés honored their female colleagues and awarded civic crowns to three who displayed outstanding conduct in the assault – Louise Reine Audu, Claire Lacombe, and Theroigne de Mericourt. [5]

The fédérés of 1815

The term "Fédérations" was revived during the Cent-Jours. It was an anti-royalist movement intended to repress local revival of monarchists after the flight of the Bourbons.

The fédérés of 1871

The term "fédérés" was revived during the Paris Commune. The Communards' Wall is known in French as the Mur de Fédérés.

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Schama, pp.604–605.
  2. Soboul, p. 245.
  3. MacLehose, p. 405.
  4. Soboul, p. 259.
  5. Godineau, pp. 110–111.

Sources