Marat, Jean-Paul

Marat, Jean-Paul

biographical name


Jean-Paul Marat, detail of a portrait by Joseph Boze, 1793; in the Museum of the History of Paris.—Giraudon/Art Resource, New York

(born , May 24, 1743, Boudry, near Neuchâtel, Switz.—died July 13, 1793, Paris, France) French politician and a leader of the radical Montagnard faction in the French Revolution. He was a well-known doctor in London in the 1770s. Returning to France in 1777, he was appointed physician at the court of Louis XVI's brother, the count d'Artois (later Charles X). Marat wrote scientific publications as well as political pamphlets. From 1789, as editor of the newspaper L'Ami du Peuple, he became an influential voice for radical measures against the aristocrats. He criticized moderate revolutionary leaders and warned against the émigré nobility, then advocated the execution of counterrevolutionaries. One of the most influential members of the National Convention (1792), he was actively supported by Parisians in street demonstrations. In April 1793 the Girondins brought him before a Revolutionary tribunal, but he was acquitted. In July a young Girondin supporter, Charlotte Corday, gained admittance to his room and stabbed him to death in his bath, making him a martyr to the people's cause.

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