Danton, Georges (-Jacques) biographical name
(born Oct. 26, 1759, Arcis-sur-Aube, Francedied April 5, 1794, Paris) French revolutionary leader. A lawyer in Paris before the French Revolution, he cofounded the Cordeliers Club (1790) and frequently made impassioned speeches before both it and the Jacobin Club. He was elected minister of justice in 1792, and he became a member of the first Committee of Public Safety in April 1793. Effectively the head of government for three months, he pursued a policy of compromise and negotiation. He was not reelected to the Committee when its term expired in July, and he became leader of the moderate Indulgents, which had risen from the Cordeliers. His moderation and opposition to the Reign of Terror led to his own death at the guillotine.
Georges Danton, portrait by Constance-Marie Charpentier; in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris.—J.E. Bulloz
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