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Danton, Georges Jacques (1759–1794)

Junko Takeda

Subject History » Political History
Study of History » Comparative History

Place Western Europe » France

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1700-1799

Key-Topics bibliography, French Revolution, inequality, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00443.x


Georges Jacques Danton was a lawyer, a gifted orator, and an influential revolutionary leader during the French Revolution . He was a controversial figure, both revered as a charismatic statesman by his supporters and despised as a corrupt politician by those who opposed him. Danton was born in 1759 in Arcis-sur-Aube, near Troyes, and followed his father into the legal profession. After studying at Troyes and Reims, he married Gabrielle Charpentier, the daughter of a restaurant owner, and bought the office of avocat (lawyer) in the Conseil du Roi in 1774. Through his legal connections he made the acquaintance of another lawyer, the young Camille Desmoulins, who would rise to prominence as a fellow Jacobin and ally throughout the French Revolution. Although he was neither a deputy to the Estates General nor the National Assembly, Danton demonstrated his early enthusiasm for the French Revolution by joining the Garde Bourgeoise (Civic Guard) in his Parisian district, where his skill as an orator won him a significant following. In May 1790 he founded the Cordeliers Club, a political organization that would become a center of revolutionary radicalism. Danton was a principal organizer of the Tuileries uprising of August 10, 1792 that overthrew the monarchy, and his political influence increased significantly thereafter. The following month, when militant bands of Parisian sansculottes ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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