About this Famous People
Maximilien de ROBESPIERRE
One of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution
Source : Marie Claire BAUCHE
His family has been traced back to the 12th century in Picardy; some of his direct ancestors in the male line were notaries in the village of Carvin near Arras from the beginning of the 17th century. He is sometimes rumoured to have been of Irish descent, and it has been suggested that his surname could be a corruption of 'Robert Speirs'. Lewes, Hamel, Michelet, Lamartine and Belloc have all cited this theory although there appears little supporting evidence.
His paternal grandfather, Maximilien de Robespierre, established himself in Arras as a lawyer. His father, Maximilien Barthélémy François de Robespierre, also a lawyer at the Conseil d'Artois, married Jacqueline Marguerite Carrault, the daughter of a brewer, in 1758. Maximilien was the oldest of four children and was conceived out of wedlock - his siblings were Charlotte, Henriette and Augustin. To hide the fact as best they could, his father and mother had a rushed wedding (which the grandfather refused to attend). In 1764, Madame de Robespierre died in childbirth. Her husband left Arras and wandered around Europe until his death in Munich in 1777, leaving the children to be brought up by their maternal grandfather and aunts.
Maximilien attended the collège (middle school) of Arras when he was eight years old, already knowing how to read and write. In October of 1769, on the recommendation of the bishop, he obtained a scholarship at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris. Here he learned to admire the idealised Roman Republic and the rhetoric of Cicero, Cato and other classic figures. His fellow pupils included Camille Desmoulins and Stanislas Fréron. He also was exposed to Rousseau during this time and adopted many of the same principles. Robespierre became more intrigued by the idea of a virtuous self, a man who stands alone accompanied only by his conscience.
Shortly after his coronation, Louis XVI visited Louis-le-Grand. Robespierre, then 17 years old, had been chosen out of five hundred pupils to deliver a speech to welcome the king; as a prize-winning student, the choice had been clear. On the day of the speech, Robespierre and the crowd waited for the king and queen for several hours in the rain. Upon arrival, the royal couple remained in their coach for the ceremony and immediately left thereafter. Robespierre would become one of those who eventually sought the death of the king.
Source : http://www.wikipedia.org/
- Category French revolutionary