July 7, 1792: Marat, a Radical View of the Revolution
Jean Paul Marat, at the outbreak of the revolution a doctor in his mid-forties who had also been a writer on political and scientific subjects, ambitious and bold but controversial and not altogether successful, became famous after 1789 for his newspaper L’Ami du peuple. He was one of the earliest journalists to appeal directly to the sans-culottes both by his stance as their defender and by the violence of his language and proposals; his appeal was democratic but also extremely revolutionary; he continually called for the blood of the people’s enemies and built a reputation for being early in the field with denunciations of leaders who were to fall from favor. He was undoubtedly a force in the revolution, and was much imitated—for example, by Jacques Hébert, creator of Père Duchesne. After his assassination by Charlotte Corday on July 13, 1793, Marat became one of those revolutionary martyrs whose cult expressed the genuine revolutionary fervor of the sans-culottes in their great days when their power had to be reckoned with. Marat disappeared from the scene when that power was still on the rise, and it is impossible to say how he would have responded to the problems it entailed. The selection which follows is No. 667 of L’Ami du peuple of July 7, 1792, translated from Oeuvres de Marat (L’Ami du peuple) recueillies et annotées par A. Vermorel (Paris, 1869), pp. 203–210. The first two paragraphs, which are introductory, have been omitted.
KeywordsLower Class French Revolution Entire Nation Radical View Public Treasury
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