Camille Desmoulins was a journalist and a French revolutionary. Despite a huge popularity among the French citizen, his support of the moderate revolutionaries during the Reign of Terror cost him his life.
Portrait of Camille Desmoulins by Jean-Sébastien Rouillard (undated)
Desmoulins early life
Camille Desmoulins was born in Guise, in Picardy on March 2nd 1760. He was an accomplished student and became a lawyer in 1785 in Paris. He met Mirabeau and the two men became friends, both found of the philosophical movement of the Enlightment. Desmoulins was a good speaker and he was an important voice of the French Revolution. When Louis XVI fired his very popular minister of finance, Jacques Necker, Desmoulins screamed his disappointment to the Parisians crownd gathered in the garden of the Palais Royal. This event made him famous in Paris as he was suddenly seen as a leader of the Revolution.
Camille Desmoulins, a famous journalist
Demoulins career in journalism started in November 1789. He published a paper called "Les Revolutions de France et de Brabant" which counted 86 publications. His main subject was the denounciation of the French aristocracy and the paper became very popular. Desmoulins also joined the Jacobins Club and was opposed to the Girondists, and more particularly to Jean-Pierre Brisot.
In 1792, France was at war with Austria. At first, Desmoulins, like his friend Robespierre, opposed this war. Then he changed his mind and joined the ideas of Danton and Marat. After the downfall of the Monarchy on August 10th, 1792 Desmoulins became the secretary of Danton, the Justice Minister. On September 8th, 1792 he was elected deputy in the National Convention and belonged to the "Montagnards" group. He was close to Robespierre, however, he took some distance after the condamnation of the Girondists group in October 1793. In December 1793, Desmoulins created a new paper called "Le vieux cordeliers" where he denounced the extrem ideas of the "Enrages" and ask for peace between partisans of the Revolution. Robespierre turned his back to Desmoulins as his newspaper defended Danton's opinions. Demoulins and Danton were arrested on March 31st, 1794. Desmoulins was accused by the Revolutionary Tribunal of being a counter revolutionary. But the reason of this sentence was his support to Danton. Desmoulins was beheaded, along side with Danton, on April 5th, 1794.