Marat, pamphleteer and theorist of the revolution

Marat, pamphleteer and theorist of the revolution


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  • Journal of the French Republic, by Marat, L’Ami du peuple,… n ° 86. Friday, December 28, 1792.

  • Inventory of papers in the possession of the widow Marat by the Committee of General Security.

  • Inventory of papers in the possession of the widow Marat by the Committee of General Security.

  • Inventory of papers in the possession of the widow Marat by the Committee of General Security.

To close

Title: Journal of the French Republic, by Marat, L’Ami du peuple,… n ° 86. Friday, December 28, 1792.

Author :

Creation date : 1792

Date shown: December 28, 1792

Dimensions: Height 19.5 - Width 11.5

Technique and other indications: printed

Storage place: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photo workshop website

Picture reference: AD / Xxa / 29 / piece 15

Journal of the French Republic, by Marat, L’Ami du peuple,… n ° 86. Friday, December 28, 1792.

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

To close

Title: Inventory of papers in the possession of the widow Marat by the Committee of General Security.

Author :

Creation date : 1793

Date shown: 02 August 1793

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: manuscript; printed header

Storage location: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photo workshop website

Picture reference: F / 7/4385/1 / file 4 / part 29 / page 1

Inventory of papers in the possession of the widow Marat by the Committee of General Security.

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

To close

Title: Inventory of papers in the possession of the widow Marat by the Committee of General Security.

Author :

Creation date : 1793

Date shown: 02 August 1793

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: manuscript; printed header

Storage location: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photo workshop website

Picture reference: F / 7/4385/1 / file 4 / part 29 / page 2

Inventory of papers in the possession of the widow Marat by the Committee of General Security.

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

To close

Title: Inventory of papers in the possession of the widow Marat by the Committee of General Security.

Author :

Creation date : 1793

Date shown: 02 August 1793

Dimensions: Height 31.5 - Width 20

Technique and other indications: manuscript; printed header

Storage place: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photo workshop website

Picture reference: F / 7/4385/1 / file 4 / part 29 / page 3

Inventory of papers in the possession of the widow Marat by the Committee of General Security.

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

The personality of Marat

Jean-Paul Marat, born a Prussian subject, in 1743 in Boudry (Switzerland) in the principality of Neuchâtel, was the son of a Spaniard convert to Calvinism who had gone into exile in Switzerland. He studied medicine in France, the Netherlands and Great Britain and was awarded a doctorate in medicine from the University of Saint Andrews (Scotland) in 1755, when he published an essay in English entitled The chains of slavery.

He moved to Paris in 1776 as doctor in the bodyguards of the Comte d'Artois, a position he held for ten years. He devoted himself to physics experiments on fire, electricity and light which he suffered from not seeing recognized by the learned world, going so far as to provoke the physicist Charles to a duel and to cover Volta with insults, in response to their criticism of his experiences.

The premises of the Revolution opened the way for him to political and journalistic combat in which he could be recognized as he saw himself: "At five years old, I would have liked to be a schoolmaster, at fifteen a teacher, author. at eighteen, creative genius at twenty, how I am ambitious today to sacrifice myself for the country ”, he wrote in the last number of his journal, published on July 14, 1793, the day after his assassination.

Image Analysis

His diary and the papers found after his death

Recounting the trial of Louis XVI in his diary of December 28, 1792, Marat shows from the first page that he is fiercely in favor of the king's condemnation and violently attacks the Girondins, like Roland.

Marat's inventory of documents after his death reveals many aspects of his personality as well as his constant struggles. It is first of all the pamphleteer denouncing relentlessly all those whom he suspects of errors or of treason, such as General Custine, on whom he has been striving since the beginning of July 1793 and who was executed on August 28, because he was blamed for the loss of Mainz; he is also the former doctor of the bodyguards of the Count of Artois, a man of science or who wants to be such, he is above all the theorist of the Revolution. The chains of slavery, the manuscript of which is listed here, published in English in 1774 and in French only in 1792, will later retain the attention of Karl Marx.

Interpretation

A character idealized by David

This is indeed his diary, The friend of the people, published from September 1789, written by him alone and changing the title several times as it had been banned, which allows him to give free rein to his violent and bitter temper, launching attacks against procrastination elected officials, but also against censal suffrage and above all, unambiguous calls for violence and murder which very quickly encountered a fairly large echo in the working classes of Paris and earned him several times having to take refuge in London, while 'he became a member of the Cordeliers club, then the Jacobins. The Paris department elects him its seventh representative to the Convention out of twenty-four. He therefore sat from September 21, 1792 on the banks of the crest of the Mountain, very strongly attacked by the Girondins, while continuing the publication of his newspaper.

Affected by a virulent eczema, he retired to his home in June 1793 and was assassinated in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday on July 13, 1793. The painting by David, also deputy of Paris at the Convention, appeared in the procession of the festival funeral in honor of the first two martyrs of Liberty, Marat and Le Peletier. The body of Marat, deposited in the Pantheon, was expelled a year later and was buried in the Sainte-Geneviève cemetery, in Paris.

  • Convention
  • Marat (Jean-Paul)
  • hurry
  • king's trial
  • Marx (Karl)

Bibliography

Archives of France The French Revolution through the archives: from the Estates General to 18 Brumaire , Document 111. Paris, 1988.

To cite this article

Pierre-Dominique CHEYNET and Denise DEVOS, "Marat, pamphleteer and theorist of the revolution"


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