February, 1789: Mounier on the Estates General

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


Jean Joseph Mounier (1758–1806) achieved prominence in Dauphiné in 1788 and at Versailles in the National Assembly in 1789. He was President of the National Assembly during the “October days” of 1789, but shortly thereafter went home to Grenoble from which he eventually escaped abroad. Mounier was a merchant’s son whose well-to-do parents gave him a good education and bought him the office of royal judge in the common court of Grenoble. In 1788 he became a spokesman for prominent residents of Dauphiné, both noble and nonnoble, in their resistance to the government’s efforts to discipline the parlement, and when the Estates General were summoned he became a deputy from Dauphiné and drafted the mandate that he and his fellow deputies took to Versailles. His book Nouvelles observations sur les États-Généraux de France (s.l., 1789, 284 pp.) was published toward the end of February, 1789, about a month after Sieyes’s Qu’est-ce que le Tiers État? At Versailles, Mounier became the leader of the group known as Anglophiles because of their support for a royal veto and a legislature of two chambers; he was still, as in Dauphiné, trying to reconcile all classes in a program that would limit the absolute monarchy without making the nobles and clergy counterrevolutionary or relying very much on the unpropertied and uneducated masses.


Ordinary Citizen Estate General Radical Argument Social Pact National Assembly 
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© Paul H. Beik 1970

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  • Paul H. Beik

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