Brissot, Jacques Pierre


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Brissot, Jacques Pierre

 

Born Jan. 15, 1754, in Chartres; died Oct. 31, 1793, in Paris. A figure in the Great French Revolution, leader of the Girondin party.

Brissot acquired a reputation in the late 1770’s and early 1780’s through his historical-philosophical writings, in which he emerged as a disciple of J. J. Rousseau. His major work was Philosophical Researches on the Right of Property and on Theft in the State of Nature and in Society (1780); in this work he was the first to formulate the proposition “property is theft,” later repeated by P. J. Proudhon. Beginning in 1789 he published the newspaper Le Patriote Français. In the first period of the revolution he played a prominent role in the Jacobin Club and spoke out against absolutism. At the time of the Varennes crisis (1791) he urged the establishment of a republic. Brissot was elected a deputy to the Legislative Assembly, where, on Oct. 20, 1791, he made a speech urging the start of preventive revolutionary war against the monarchies of Europe. After the overthrow of the monarchy (1792) and the rise to power of the Girondins, he openly demanded that the revolution come to a halt. Elected to the National Convention, he led the Girondins’ struggle against the Jacobins. After the popular uprising of May 31 to June 2, 1793, Brissot fled to the provinces but was soon arrested and was executed at the decision of the Revolutionary Tribunal.

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