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")
The French Republic in 1801
|Government||1792–1795 Authoritarian directorial revolutionary republic Autocratic republic|
|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)|
|Historical era|| French Revolutionary Wars |
|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|
• French Revolutionary Wars ends
|27 March 1802|
• Napoleonic Wars begins
|18 May 1803|
|18 May 1804|
|Currency||livre (to 1794), franc, assignat|
|Today part of|| Canada |
United States of America
In the history of France, the First Republic (French: Première République), officially the French Republic (République française), was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, 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, in which he threatened the destruction of Paris should any harm come to the King Louis XVI of France. The 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 violence of 10 August 1792, citizens stormed 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, killing over half of the prisoners. This included nobles, clergymen, and political prisoners, but also numerous common criminals, such as prostitutes and petty thieves, many murdered in their cells—raped, stabbed, and slashed to death. This became known as the September Massacres.
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|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 by guillotine.
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.
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 period known as the French Consulate began with the coup of 18 Brumaire in 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. He would later proclaim himself Emperor of the French, ending the First French Republic and ushering in the French First Empire.
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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. The following list is based on the actual positions of power within the executive:
(birth and death)
|Term of office||Political party||Ref.|
| Georges Danton |
|21 September 1792||9 October 1792||Cordeliers (The Mountain)|
| Jean-Marie Roland de la Platière |
|9 October 1792||23 January 1793||Girondins|
| Étienne Clavière |
|23 January 1793||2 June 1793||Girondins|
| Georges Danton |
|2 June 1793||10 July 1793||Cordeliers (The Mountain)|
|10 July 1793||27 July 1793|
| Maximilien Robespierre |
|27 July 1793||27 July 1794||Jacobins (The Mountain)|
| Lazare Carnot |
|27 July 1794||6 October 1794||The Plain|
| Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès |
|6 October 1794||8 November 1794||The Plain|
| Lazare Carnot |
|8 November 1794||3 March 1795||The Plain|
| Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès |
|3 March 1795||2 November 1795||The Plain|
| Lazare Carnot |
|2 November 1795||4 September 1797||Independent|
| Paul Barras |
|4 September 1797||18 June 1799||Thermidorians|
| Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès |
|18 June 1799||9 November 1799||Independent|
| Napoleon Bonaparte |
|9 November 1799||18 May 1804||Bonapartist|
|On 18 May 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed Emperor of the French by the Conservative Senate.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to French First Republic .|
The Reign of Terror, commonly The Terror, was a period of the French Revolution when, following the creation of the First French 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.
The Committee of Public Safety, formed the provisional government in France, led mainly by Maximilien Robespierre, during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), a phase of the French Revolution. Supplementing the Committee of General Defence created after the execution of King Louis XVI in January 1793, the Committee of Public Safety was created in April 1793 by the National Convention and restructured in July 1793. It was charged with protecting the new republic against its foreign and domestic enemies, fighting the First Coalition and the Vendée revolt. As a wartime measure, the committee was given broad supervisory and administrative powers over the armed forces, judiciary and legislature, as well as the executive bodies and ministers of the Convention.
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 time well over ten thousand 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 mass execution of the Girondins. This event is considered to mark the beginning of the Reign of Terror.
Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve was a French writer and politician who served as the second mayor of Paris, from 1791 to 1792.
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 Mountain was a political group during the French Revolution. Its members, called the Montagnards, sat on the highest benches in the National Assembly.
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 officer Gauthier in a derogatory sense, speaking about a "sans-culottes army". The word came in 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 1 November 1795. The "Thermidorian Reaction" was named after the month in which the coup took place, and was the latter part of the National Convention's rule of France. It was marked by the end of the Reign of Terror, decentralization of executive powers from the Committee of Public Safety, and a turn from the radical leftist policies of the Montagnard Convention to more conservative positions. Economic and general populism, dechristianization, and harsh wartime measures were largely abandoned, as the members of the Convention, disillusioned and frightened of the centralized government of the Terror, preferred a more stable political order that would have the approval of the affluent. The Reaction saw the Left suppressed by brutal force, including massacres, as well as the disbanding of the Jacobin Club, the dispersal of the sans-culottes, and the renunciation of the Montagnard ideology.
Jean-Lambert Tallien was a French political figure of the revolutionary period.
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 Jacobin leader during 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. 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 and saw many of them off to the guillotine. For his unyielding severity, later writers dubbed him the "Angel of Death".
The Constitution of 1793, also known as the Constitution of the Year I or the Montagnard Constitution, was the second constitution ratified for use during the French Revolution under the First Republic. Designed by the Montagnards, principally Maximilien Robespierre and Louis Saint-Just, it was intended to replace the constitutional monarchy of 1791 and the Girondin constitutional project. With sweeping plans for democratization and wealth redistribution, the new document promised a significant departure from the relatively moderate goals of the Revolution in previous years.
François-René-Auguste Mallarmé was a French statesman of the French Revolution and a supporter of Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Empire. His career is of particular interest because he was among political figures such as Joseph Fouché who at first aggressively supported the Terror, only to betray its leaders and support the various conservative reactionary régimes that followed. His was a chevalier de l'Empire from 22 November 1808 and a baron de l'Empire from 31 January 1810.
Marc-Guillaume Alexis Vadier was a French politician of the French Revolution.
The White Terror was a period during the French Revolution in 1795, when a wave of violent attacks swept across much of France. The victims of this violence were people identified as being associated with the Reign of Terror – followers of Robespierre and Marat, and members of local Jacobin clubs. The violence was perpetrated primarily by those whose relatives or associates had been victims of the Great Terror, or whose lives and livelihoods had been threatened by the government and its supporters before the Thermidorean Reaction. Principally these were, in Paris, the Muscadins, and in the countryside, monarchists, supporters of the Girondins, those who opposed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and those otherwise hostile to the Jacobin political agenda. The Great Terror had been largely an organised political programme, based on laws such as the Law of 22 Prairial, and enacted through official institutions such as the Revolutionary Tribunal, but the White Terror was essentially a series of uncoordinated attacks by local activists who shared common perspectives but no central organisation. In particular locations, there were however more organised counter-revolutionary movements such as the Companions of Jehu in Lyon and the Companions of the Sun in Provence. The name 'White Terror' derives from the white cockades worn in the hats of royalists.