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(pseudonym of Jean Baptiste Cloots). Born June 24, 1755, at the castle of Gnadental, near Kleve; died Mar. 24, 1794, in Paris. Figure from the Great French Revolution; philosopher and proponent of the Enlightenment, publicist. Prussian baron.
In 1776, Cloots came to Paris, where he worked with the Encyclopedists and developed pantheistic ideas. In 1789 he joined the Jacobin Club. During the revolution he adopted French citizenship and was elected to the Convention (1792). His primary goal was the creation of a “universal republic.” For the realization of this idea, in December 1791 he began to demand a declaration of war against the European powers; later, when war had begun, he called for its continuation until the universal union of republics had been created. His adventurous and cosmopolitan program, which was dangerous to the revolution in France, prompted M. Robespierre and other Jacobins to come out against him. In 1793, Cloots supported forced dechristianization. In December 1793 he was expelled from the Jacobin Club and later from the Convention. Handed over to a court of the Revolutionary Tribunal, he was executed together with the Hébertists.