May 10, 1793: Robespierre on Constitutional Principles

  • Paul H. Beik
Part of the The Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)


It is well known that in the debates leading to the adoption of the Jacobin constitution of 1793 Robespierre’s speech of May 10, 1793, was very influential and that many of his proposals went into the new constitution. The document below, consisting of the introductory portion of this speech, has been selected because of its statements about principles of government, relations of government and society to each other, and the place of the French Revolution in history, and because these statements were made when they were, during the contest with the Girondins and before the coming of the Terror. The source is the version printed under the auspices of the Jacobin Club, Société des amis de la liberté et de l’égalite séante aux Jacobins, rue Saint-Honoré. Discours de Maximilien Robespierre sur la constitution. De l’Imprimerie patriotique et républicaine…(n.d., 34 pp.), pp. 1–10. These pages are the same as the version adopted by the editors of the Oeuvres de Maximilien Robespierre, Vol. IX (Paris, 1958), pp. 495–498, except for two misplaced lines that the editors of the Oeuvres have relocated in the ninth paragraph, and another difference of one word that does not affect the translation.


Human Intelligence French Revolution Civic Virtue Fine Education Political Body 
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© Paul H. Beik 1970

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  • Paul H. Beik

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