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Charlotte CORDAY

French Charlotte CORDAY

born Marie-Anne Charlotte de CORDAY d'ARMONT

Figure of the French Revolution

Source :  Parment DANYfrebaultMichel l'HUILLIERJean Pierre de PALMAS

Born: on July 27, 1768 in Ecorches, Orne, France
Died: on July 17, 1793 in Paris, France


Born in Saint-Saturnin-des-Ligneries, a hamlet in the commune of Écorches (Orne), in Normandy, France, Charlotte Corday was a member of a minor aristocratic family. She was a descendant of the dramatist Pierre Corneille on her father's side.

While Charlotte Corday was a young girl, her mother, Charlotte Marie Jacqueline Gaultier de Mesnival (1737-1782) and her older sister died. Her father, Jacques François de Corday, seigneur d'Armont (1737-1798), unable to cope with his grief over their death, sent Charlotte and her younger sister to the Abbaye-aux-Dames convent in Caen where she had access to the abbey's library and first encountered the writings of Plutarch, Rousseau and Voltaire. After 1791, she lived in Caen with her cousin, Madame Le Coustellier de Bretteville-Gouville. The two developed a close relationship and Charlotte was the sole heir to her cousin's estate.

Jean-Paul Marat was a member of the radical Jacobin faction which would have a leading role during the Reign of Terror. As a journalist, he exerted power and influence through his newspaper, L'Ami du peuple ("The Friend of the People").

Charlotte Corday's decision to kill Marat was stimulated not only by her revulsion at the September Massacres, for which she held Marat responsible, but for her fear of an all out civil war. She believed that Marat was threatening the Republic, and that his death would end violence throughout the nation. She also believed that King Louis XVI should not have been executed.

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See Also :

- Category political murderer, terrorist