Provincial Patriot of the French Revolution: Franois Buzot, 17601794
- Publish Date: 2015-03-04
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Bette W. Oliver
This biography of Franois Buzot, a Girondin leader in both the Constituent Assembly (1789-91) and the National Convention (1792-93), illustrates how his early life in Evreux and his training as a lawyer influenced his ideas and actions during the French Revolution, when he championed individual rights and the rule of law in a republic. A provincial leader who distrusted the increasingly centralized government in Paris, Buzot worked tirelessly to defend departmental interests, which led his Jacobin opponents to accuse him of federalism.
Buzot became an active participant in the factional disputes dividing the national assembly in 1792-93, which led to frequent attacks against him and his cohorts by the radical press and demands for their impeachment. Consequently, Buzot and twenty-nine other Girondin deputies were expelled from the assembly in June 1793 and placed under house arrest. While Buzot and some of his friends escaped and fled to Caen, those Girondins who had remained in Paris were executed that October. After their attempt to form a large departmental force to march against the government in Paris had failed, Buzot and his friends fled to St. Emilion, where they survived as fugitives, often hiding in abandoned stone quarries, until June 1794.
Buzots memoirs, written when he was on the run in 1793-94, provide an unusual contemporary account of the difficult and dangerous period known as the Terror. In addition, letters to and from his friends, notably Madame Roland, with whom he shared a romantic relationship, offer a more personal view of Buzot than can be found in most texts.
Although Buzot was honored as a local hero by the citizens of Evreux in 1789, by the summer of 1793 the authorities had declared him a traitor and ordered his home demolished, and its furnishings sold at auction. Honored again during the centennial celebration of the French Revolution, by 1989 he had almost been forgotten. This first biographical treatment in English of Franois Buzot, a bourgeois gentilhomme, provides a new dimension to the story of an important revolutionary leader.