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Marat, Jean-Paul (1743–1793)

Junko Takeda


Jean-Paul Marat was the most influential of the radical journalists of the French Revolution . Before the Revolution he had been a member of the medical profession and had gained a reputation as a maverick scientist for his experiments with heat, light, and electricity and his critique of Newtonian physics. When the political challenge to the monarchy arose in the late 1780s, however, he immediately abandoned his scientific pursuits and threw himself wholeheartedly into agitating on behalf of the interests of the Parisian sans-culottes. His historical significance has been disputed by biographers and historians, with some dismissing him as an accidental figure on the stage of history and others portraying him as second only to Robespierre in his influence on the earth-shaking events of the Revolution. Marat was born on May 24, 1743, the eldest son of Jean Mara of Sardinia and Louise Cabrol, the daughter of a French Huguenot wigmaker, in the Swiss village of Boudry near Neuchâtel. In his early years, Marat studied medicine and philosophy in Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Paris, and eventually established himself as a practicing physician in London. He attracted a socially prominent clientele; by 1765 he had begun to rub elbows with distinguished members of the Royal Society of London and the Academies of Berlin, St. Petersburg, and Stockholm. In 1773 Marat attempted to participate ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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