Desmoulins

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Camille Desmoulins was a journalist and politician as well as a close friend of Georges Danton. Growing up Desmoulins attended the same school as Maximilien Robespierre in Paris. Desmoulins studied to be a lawyer, but was not so successful, he then turned to writing and eventually politics.

In March 1789, Desmoulins was chosen as deputy for the bailliage of Guise, his place of birth. He then acted as commisioner to the election of deputies to the Estates General. A broke and poverty stricken Desmoulins showed extreme enthusiasm to the political changes bought about by the Estates General, shown by the publication Ode to the States-General, and another radical pamphlet La Philosophie au peuple français, which Desmoulins almost definitely wrote.

Desmoulins rise to prominence came about when King Louis XVI dismissed Jacques Necker. On the 12th of July 1789, Desmoulins jumped onto a table outside of a Palais Royal garden cafes and announced to the crowd the dismissal. He then cried "to arms!" and drew two pistols from his coat, declaring that he would not go alive to the police who were watching. This was the beginning of the revolution.

After the storming of the Bastille (July 14, 1789) Desmoulins released La France libre, a work which the publisher had previously refused to print. The work was considered ahead of its time, and strongly favoured a French republic. The work also laid out ideas for the rights of the King, Nobles, the Clergy and the people. La France libre was instantly popular.

Desmoulins went on to publish another pamphlet, Discours de ici lanterne aux Parisiens, which included the quote "Those that do evil, hate light". Desmoulins was consequently nicknamed Procureur-général de la lanterne (The Lanterne Prosecutor). The pamphlet also argued that revolutionary violence was justified.

In November 1989 Desmoulins started a career as a full time journalist with the beginning of a weekly publication, Histoire des Révolutions de France et de Brabant. The publication was extremely popular and made Desmoulins a very rich man. It is also a great indicator of Parisian ideology towards the revolution, although it has drawn criticism for its violent tone.

In July 1771, Desmoulins, along with Danton, headed a group petitioning to the Paris Commune to get rid of the King. At the time this was a dangerous thing to do, and made Desmoulins a target for attacks by royalists, eventually leading to a warrant being issued for the arrest of Desmoulins and Danton.

While Danton chose to flee Paris, Desmoulins chose to stay, even making occasional appearances at the Jacobin club. After a failed arrest Desmoulins published the pamphlet Jean Pierre Brissot démasqué, which contained violent attacks. This pamphlet was followed up by Fragment de l'histoire secrète de la Révolution, (thought to be inspired by Desmoulins close friend Robespierre) in which Brissot and the Girondists were subject to a populist attack.

Desmoulins had an active role in the attack on the Tuileries Palace, and after the demise of the Legislative Assembly, took on the role of secretary to Danton, the new Justice Minister. Desmoulins was the elected a deputy for Paris on the 8th of September. Desmoulins was part of The Mountain and voted for a republic, and the execution of the King.

In December 1793, the first publication of La Vieux Cordelier was issued, aimed against the Hebertists, gaining the approval of Robespierre. However the third publication supported Danton's committee of clemency, turning Robespierre against Desmoulins. On January 7th 1794 Robespierre called for the destruction of certain editions of La Vieux Cordelier. Desmoulins replied to this action with the words "burning is not answering" clearly insulting Robespierre. The Hebertists had been guillotined by the end of March while, Desmoulin, Danton, and other moderates had been arrested.

Between the 3rd and 5th of April 1794, Desmoulins was trialled before the Revolutionary Tribunal. The trial was based on the false reports of a spy. Desmoulins was found guilty and recieved the death sentence, which was to be carried out later that day. Desmoulins was allegedly resistant towards the executioner and guillotine, even to the point of tearing his clothes to shreds. Desmoulins wife, Lucile was also executed a few days later, on the 13th. Lucile's trial was also based on the false reports of a spy.

Mitch and Jacob