Mainz Commune

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mainz Commune


a term used broadly to refer to the revolutionary events (October 1792 to July 1793) in Mainz and adjoining areas during the Great French Revolution; in its more restricted meaning, the term is the designation for the urban self-government of Mainz in this period.

Occupied by the French Army on Oct. 21, 1792, Mainz became a center for the revolutionary movement. On October 23, there arose, on the model of the Jacobin Club, the Society of Friends of Freedom and Equality, whose members (G. Forster and some others) became part of the new administration created by the French. On December 15, by a decree of the French Convention, the sovereignty of the people was proclaimed and the feudal rights and duties were abolished. On Mar. 17, 1793, the Rhenish German National Convention opened in Mainz. The convention deprived the feudal proprietors of all rights and proclaimed the territory from Landau to Bingen a “free, independent, indivisible state founded on the laws of freedom and equality.” This was the first democratic republic on German territory; on March 19 the Convention voted that it become part of France. On October 30, when the Mainz region was annexed by France, the city was surrounded by the army of the coalition of European powers. After the capitulation of the French army and its withdrawal from Mainz, the coalition armies restored the authority of the elector, and repressive measures were begun against the revolutionaries (the so-called Mainz club members). Mainz was, in the words of F. Engels, “the only German city to have played an honorable role in the great revolution” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 38, p. 449).


Moshkovskaia, Iu. Ia. Georg Forsternemetskii prosvetitel’ i revoliutsioner XVIII v. Moscow, 1961.
Streisand, J. Deutschland von 1789 bis 1815. Berlin, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.