Desmoulins, Camille

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Desmoulins, Camille (1760- 1794): French Journalist and Revolutionary.

On the 12th of July 1789, after the dismissal of Necker, Jacques, Desmoulins gathered a crowd which would lead to the storming of the Bastille. He soon became one of the greatest journalists of the Revolution with his newspaper, Revolutions in France and Brabant (1789-1791). He developed a refined literary style that pleased both the crowd and cultivated people alike.

A member of the revolutionary Club des Cordeliers, he was elected to the National Convention and sat with Danton, Georges, Robespierre, Maximilien François Marie Isidore de, and Marat, Jean-Paul --all leaders of the extremist Montagne. The publication of his Brissot Unmasked and of History of the Brissotins ignited hostilities against the Girondins, the more moderate revolutionaries led by Brissot, Jacques Pierre and Vergniaud, Pierre. Later, when most Girondins were sent to the scaffold, he became remorseful.

In December 1793, he launched another newspaper, the Vieux Cordelier (1793-1794), containing the most eloquent writing produced by the Revolution. It favored the real and first French revolutionaries opposed to Hébert and the ultra-violent revolutionaries. Manipulated by Robespierre, who sought to destroy the Hébertists, Desmoulins preached moderation and denounced Hebert, Jacques and his followers who were leading the Revolution into false ways. Danton sided with him but both were soon suspected of conspiracy. Robespierre and Saint-Just, Louis-Antoine de took advantage of the situation to eliminate all their political rivals. Desmoulins was condemned to the guillotine, along with Danton, on April 5, 1794.

Further Reading:

Jacques Janssens, Camille Desmoulins, le premier républicain de France, 1973.

Guy David Toubiana

The Citadel

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