Brissot de Warville, Jacques Pierre

Brissot de Warville, Jacques Pierre

(zhäk pyĕr brēsō` də värvēl`), 1754–93, French revolutionary and journalist. He began his career by writing numerous pamphlets and books. His Théorie des lois criminelles (1781) was a plea for penal reform. He was imprisoned briefly in the Bastille for writing a seditious pamphlet. Brissot visited the Netherlands, Switzerland, England, and the United States. He was interested in humanitarian schemes and founded the abolitionist Société des Amis des Noirs.

After his return to France in 1789 he began to edit the Patriote français, which later became an organ of the GirondistsGirondists
or Girondins
, political group of moderate republicans in the French Revolution, so called because the central members were deputies of the Gironde dept. Girondist leaders advocated continental war.
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 (at first called Brissotins). Brissot, feeling that war would spread the principles of the French RevolutionFrench Revolution,
political upheaval of world importance in France that began in 1789. Origins of the Revolution

Historians disagree in evaluating the factors that brought about the Revolution.
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, did much to foment it with his diatribes against Europe's monarchs. In the Legislative Assembly his great influence on the conduct of foreign affairs contributed to the French declaration of war on Austria in 1792. After the fall of the monarchy, a power struggle between two groups ensued, and the Girondists lost power. The JacobinsJacobins
, political club of the French Revolution. Formed in 1789 by the Breton deputies to the States-General, it was reconstituted as the Society of Friends of the Constitution after the revolutionary National Assembly moved (Oct., 1789) to Paris.
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's victory over the Girondists resulted in his execution. He left memoirs.


See biography by E. Ellery (1915, repr. 1970).

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