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Saint-Just, Louis Antoine (1767–1794)

Marisa A. Linton


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Louis Antoine Saint-Just was a leading revolutionary during the French Revolution's most radical phase, the period of the Jacobin Republic and the Reign of Terror. Saint-Just is remembered, depending on the ideology of who is doing the remembering, as either a model of heroic selfsacrifice, idealism, and revolutionary integrity, or a fanatical, blood-thirsty, merciless destroyer of innocent victims. When it comes to interpretations of Saint-Just, there is not much middle ground. Liberal and conservative historians unite in execrating his memory, while radical historians look upon him more favorably. As such, what an author writes about Saint-Just often provides a reliable touchstone of that author's general interpretation of the French Revolution . Saint-Just was born in Decize in the Nivernais (now the Nièvre département) on August 25, 1767. His father was a retired cavalry officer, his mother the daughter of a notary. When Saint-Just was nine, his family moved to the small town of Blérancourt in his father's native Picardy. His father died the following year, leaving the widowed mother to bring up the headstrong youth and his younger sisters. Saint-Just found it difficult to settle down to the legal career that his family wanted him to pursue. In 1789 he tried his hand at establishing a literary reputation by writing Organt au Vatican , an epic satirical and partly erotic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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