République française (French)
|Motto: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité ou la Mort |
("Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death")
|Anthem: Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin |
("War Song for the Army of the Rhine")
and largest city
|President of the National Convention|
|Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve (first)|
|Jean Joseph Victor Génissieu (last)|
|President of the Directory|
|By rotation: 3 months duration|
|Council of Ancients (1795–1799)|
|21 September 1792|
|10 March 1793 – 27 July 1794|
|27 July 1794|
|6 September 1795|
|4 September 1797|
|18 June 1799|
|9 November 1799|
|24 December 1799|
|27 March 1802|
• Napoleonic Wars begin
|18 May 1803|
• Napoleon proclaimed emperor
|18 May 1804|
|Currency||livre (to 1794), franc, assignat|
In the history of France, the First Republic (French : Première République), sometimes referred to in historiography as Revolutionary France, and officially the French Republic (French : République française), was founded on 21 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire on 18 May 1804 under Napoléon Bonaparte, although the form of the government changed several times.
This period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, and, finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power.
Under the Legislative Assembly, which was in power before the proclamation of the First Republic, France was engaged in war with Prussia and Austria. In July 1792, the Duke of Brunswick, commanding general of the Austro–Prussian Army, issued his Brunswick Manifesto, threatening the destruction of Paris should any harm come to King Louis XVI of France.
This foreign threat exacerbated France's political turmoil amid the French Revolution and deepened the passion and sense of urgency among the various factions. In the insurrection of 10 August 1792, citizens rioted the Tuileries Palace, killing six hundred of the King's Swiss guards and insisting on the removal of the king.
A renewed fear of anti-revolutionary action prompted further violence, and in the first week of September 1792, mobs of Parisians broke into the city's prisons. They killed over half of the prisoners, including nobles, clergymen, and political prisoners, but also common criminals, such as prostitutes and petty thieves. Many victims were murdered in their cells: raped, stabbed, and/or slashed to death. This became known as the September Massacres.
|History of France|
As a result of the spike in public violence and the political instability of the constitutional monarchy, a party of six members of France's Legislative Assembly was assigned the task of overseeing elections. The resulting Convention was founded with the dual purpose of abolishing the monarchy and drafting a new constitution.
The convention's first act was to establish the French First Republic and officially strip the king of all political powers. Louis XVI, by then a private citizen bearing his family name of Capet, was subsequently put on trial for crimes of high treason starting in December 1792. On 16 January 1793 he was convicted, and on 21 January, he was executed.
Throughout the winter of 1792 and spring of 1793, Paris was plagued by food riots and mass hunger. The new Convention did little to remedy the problem until late spring of 1793, occupied instead with matters of war. Finally, on 6 April 1793, the Convention created the Committee of Public Safety, and was given a monumental task: "To deal with the radical movements of the Enragés, food shortages and riots, the revolt in the Vendée and in Brittany, recent defeats of its armies, and the desertion of its commanding general."
Most notably, the Committee of Public Safety instated a policy of terror, and the guillotine began to fall on perceived enemies of the republic at an ever-increasing rate, beginning the period known today as the Reign of Terror.
Despite growing discontent with the National Convention as a ruling body, in June the Convention drafted the Constitution of 1793, which was ratified by popular vote in early August. However, the Committee of Public Safety was seen as an "emergency" government, and the rights guaranteed by the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the new constitution were suspended under its control.
The constitution of the republic did not provide for a formal head of state or a head of government. It could be discussed whether the head of state would have been the president of the National Assembly under international law. However, this changed every two weeks and was therefore not formative.
After the arrest and execution of Robespierre on 28 July 1794, the Jacobin club was closed, and the surviving Girondins were reinstated. A year later, the National Convention adopted the Constitution of the Year III. They reestablished freedom of worship, began releasing large numbers of prisoners, and most importantly, initiated elections for a new legislative body.
On 3 November 1795, the Directory was established. Under this system, France was led by a bicameral Parliament, consisting of an upper chamber called the Council of Elders (with 250 members) and a lower chamber called the Council of Five Hundred (with, accordingly, 500 members), and a collective Executive of five members called the Directory (from which the historical period gets its name). Due to internal instability, caused by hyperinflation of the paper monies called Assignats, [ citation needed ]and French military disasters in 1798 and 1799, the Directory lasted only four years, until overthrown in 1799.
The French Consulate era began with the coup of 18 Brumaire on 9 November 1799. Members of the Directory itself planned the coup, indicating clearly the failing power of the Directory. Napoleon Bonaparte was a co-conspirator in the coup, and became head of the government as the First Consul.
On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor of the French by the Sénat conservateur. He would later proclaim himself Emperor of the French, ending the First French Republic and ushering in the French First Empire.
The French Revolution was a period of radical political and societal change in France that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended with the formation of the French Consulate in November 1799. Many of its ideas are considered fundamental principles of liberal democracy, while phrases like liberté, égalité, fraternité reappeared in other revolts, such as the 1917 Russian Revolution, and inspired campaigns for the abolition of slavery and universal suffrage. The values and institutions it created dominate French politics to this day.
The Reign of Terror was a period of the French Revolution when, following the creation of the First Republic, a series of massacres and numerous public executions took place in response to revolutionary fervour, anticlerical sentiment, and accusations of treason by the Committee of Public Safety.
Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac was a French politician, freemason, journalist, and one of the most prominent members of the National Convention, representing the Plain during the French Revolution. The Plain was dominated by the radical Montagnards and Barère as one of their leaders supported the foundation of the Committee of Public Safety in April and of a sans-culottes army in September 1793. According to Francois Buzot, Barère was responsible for the Reign of Terror, like Robespierre and Louis de Saint-Just. In Spring 1794 and after the Festival of the Supreme Being, he became an opponent of Maximilien Robespierre and joined the coup, leading to his downfall.
The Society of the Friends of the Constitution, renamed the Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality after 1792 and commonly known as the Jacobin Club or simply the Jacobins, was the most influential political club during the French Revolution of 1789. The period of its political ascendancy includes the Reign of Terror, during which well over 10,000 people were put on trial and executed in France, many for political crimes.
The following is a timeline of the French Revolution.
The Girondins, or Girondists, were members of a loosely knit political faction during the French Revolution. From 1791 to 1793, the Girondins were active in the Legislative Assembly and the National Convention. Together with the Montagnards, they initially were part of the Jacobin movement. They campaigned for the end of the monarchy, but then resisted the spiraling momentum of the Revolution, which caused a conflict with the more radical Montagnards. They dominated the movement until their fall in the insurrection of 31 May – 2 June 1793, which resulted in the domination of the Montagnards and the purge and eventual mass execution of the Girondins. This event is considered to mark the beginning of the Reign of Terror.
The National Convention was a parliament 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.
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, seems to have been used for the first time on 28 February 1791 by Jean-Bernard Gauthier de Murnan in a derogatory sense, speaking about a "sans-culottes army". The word came into vogue during the demonstration of 20 June 1792.
The Thermidorian Reaction is the common term, in the historiography of the French Revolution, for the period between the ousting of Maximilien Robespierre on 9 Thermidor II, or 27 July 1794, and the inauguration of the French Directory on 2 November 1795.
This is a glossary of the French Revolution. It generally does not explicate names of individual people or their political associations; those can be found in List of people associated with the French Revolution.
Louis Antoine Léon de Saint-Just, was a French revolutionary, political philosopher, member and president of the French National Convention, a Jacobin club leader, and a major figure of the French Revolution. He was a close friend of Maximilien Robespierre and served as his most trusted ally during the period of Jacobin rule (1793–94) in the French First Republic. Saint-Just worked as a legislator and a military commissar, but he achieved a lasting reputation as the face of the Reign of Terror where he was named the Archangel of the Terror. He publicly delivered the condemnatory reports that emanated from Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety and defended the use of violence against opponents of the government. He supervised the arrests of some of the most famous figures of the Revolution, many of whom ended up at the guillotine.
Augustin Bon Joseph de Robespierre, known as Robespierre the Younger, was a French lawyer, politician and the younger brother of French Revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre. His political views were similar to his brother's. When his brother was arrested on 9 Thermidor, Robespierre volunteered to be arrested as well, and he was executed by the guillotine along with Maximilien and 20 of his supporters.
The Revolutionary Tribunal was a court instituted by the National Convention during the French Revolution for the trial of political offenders. It eventually became one of the most powerful engines of the Reign of Terror.
Marc-Guillaume Alexis Vadier was a major French politician of the French Revolution. He is sometimes called the "Great Inquisitor", for his active participation in the Reign of Terror. During this time, he was in charge of the Comité de Sûreté Générale, which was tasked with the prosecution of the so-called enemies of the Revolution. He is probably one of the main actors in the fall of Robespierre, which was his political rival.
François-Nicolas Vincent was the Secretary General of the War Ministry in the First French Republic, and a significant figure in the French Revolution. A member of the Cordelier Club, he is best known as a radical sans-culottes leader and prominent member of the Hébertist faction.
Jean-Antoine-Joseph de Bry, also spelled Debry, was a French politician of the French Revolution. He served as President of the National Convention, and is famous for the slogan La patrie est en danger he proposed.
Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre was a French lawyer and statesman who became one of the best-known, influential and controversial figures of the French Revolution. As a member of the Estates-General, the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, he campaigned for universal manhood suffrage, the right to vote for people of color, Jews, actors, domestic staff and the abolition of both clerical celibacy and French involvement in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1791, Robespierre was elected as "public accuser" and became an outspoken advocate for male citizens without a political voice, for their unrestricted admission to the National Guard, to public offices, and to the commissioned ranks of the army, for the right to petition and the right to bear arms in self defence. Robespierre played an important part in the agitation which brought about the fall of the French monarchy on 10 August 1792 and the summoning of a National Convention. His goal was to create a one and indivisible France, equality before the law, to abolish prerogatives and to defend the principles of direct democracy. He earned the nickname "the incorruptible" for his adherence to strict moral values.