Jean-François Varlet

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Jean-François Varlet (1764, Paris 1837) was a leader of the Enragé faction in the French Revolution.

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.

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.



Born in Paris on 14 July 1764 into a family of the petty bourgeoisie, Jean-François Varlet studied at the Collège d'Harcourt.

Lycée Saint-Louis

The lycée Saint-Louis is a post-secondary school located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, in the Latin Quarter. It is the only public French lycée exclusively dedicated to classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles. It is known for the quality of its teaching and the results it achieves in their intensely competitive entrance examinations (concours).

He welcomed with enthusiasm the Revolution, wrote patriotic songs, signed petitions, including that of the Champ de Mars on 17 July 1791.

On 24 May 1793 he was arrested along with Jacques-René Hébert, but was triumphantly released three days later. He then laid on preparations for the Insurrection of 31 May – 2 June 1793.

Insurrection of 31 May – 2 June 1793

The insurrection of 31 May – 2 June 1793, during the French Revolution, resulted in the fall of the Girondin party under pressure of the Parisian sans-culottes, Jacobins of the clubs, and Montagnards in the National Convention. By its impact and importance, this insurrection stands as one of the three great popular insurrections of the French Revolution, following those of 14 July 1789 and 10 August 1792.

In various writings published in 1792 and 1793, he is a proponent of direct democracy [1] and the redistribution of property. He classed himself with Jacques Roux and others in the Enragés party.

Jacques Roux was a radical Roman Catholic priest who took an active role in politics during the French Revolution. He skillfully expounded the ideals of popular democracy and classless society to crowds of Parisian sans-culottes, working class wage earners and shopkeepers, radicalizing them into a dangerous revolutionary force. He became a leader of a popular far-left.

The Enraged Ones were a small number of firebrands known for defending the lower class and expressing the demands of the radical sans-culottes during the French Revolution. They played an active role in the 31 May 31 – 2 June 1793 Paris uprisings that forced the expulsion of the Girondins from the National Convention, allowing the Montagnards to assume full control.

Arrested again in September 1793, he was released on 29 October 1793; arrested yet again after the fall of Robespierre, he spent almost a year in prison.

After his release, Varlet settled at Pailly, Yonne, marrying and having three children. [2]

He became a Bonapartist after 1800 and lived some time in Nantes. He returned to Paris for several months in 1830 to participate in the July Revolution. In 1836 he left Nantes to live at Corbeil-Essonnes, where he drowned on 4 October 1837. [2]


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  1. Morris Slavin, Jean Varlet as Defender of Direct Democracy, The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 39, No. 4 (Dec., 1967), pp. 387-404.
  2. 1 2 Blavier, Yves (April 1991). "Jean-François Varlet après la révolution". Annales historiques de la Révolution française (in French (subscription reqd.)) (284): 227–231. JSTOR   41914204.