Saint-Just, Louis de

Saint-Just, Louis de

(lwē` də săN-zhüst`), 1767–94, French revolutionary. A member of the Convention from 1792, he became a favorite of Maximilien Robespierre and was (1793–94) a leading member of the Committee of Public Safety (see Reign of TerrorReign of Terror,
1793–94, period of the French Revolution characterized by a wave of executions of presumed enemies of the state. Directed by the Committee of Public Safety, the Revolutionary government's Terror was essentially a war dictatorship, instituted to rule the
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). As commissioner (1793) with the army of the Rhine, he contributed to the successful operations that drove the allies beyond the French border. On his return he served as president of the Convention. He supported Robespierre in the destruction of the Hébertists and Dantonists (see Hébert, Jacques RenéHébert, Jacques René
, 1757–94, French journalist and revolutionary. An ardent supporter of the French Revolution, he gained the support of the working classes through his virulent paper Le Père Duchesne and was prominent in the Cordeliers.
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; Danton, Georges JacquesDanton, Georges Jacques
, 1759–94, French statesman, one of the leading figures of the French Revolution. A Parisian lawyer, he became a leader of the Cordeliers early in the Revolution and gained popular favor through his powerful oratory.
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); in doctrinaire interpretation of Rousseau's political teachings he was more radically idealistic than Robespierre. Saint-Just believed fanatically in the perfect state, based on rigorous Spartan virtue, and brooked no opposition to this political philosophy. During the coup of 9 ThermidorThermidor
, 11th month of the French Revolutionary calendar. The coup of 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794) marked the downfall of Robespierre and the end of the Reign of Terror.
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 (1794), which overthrew Robespierre and other members of the Committee of Public Safety, Saint-Just was prevented from delivering a speech in defense of Robespierre. Saint-Just's arrest was ordered, and he was guillotined with Robespierre.

Bibliography

See biographies by G. Bruun (1932, repr. 1966), E. N. Curtis (1935, repr. 1973), and B. Vinot (1985).

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