Mirabeau supported the French revolution, but wanted to protect Louis XVI
Mirabeau Portrait by Boze (Versailles museum)
Mirabeau early life
Mirabeau was born on March 9th, 1749 in Le Bignon, a small village south of Paris.
His family belonged to the French aristocracy of Provence, but it often struggled with financial problems.
Mirabeau was kind of ugly with a huge face, bad teeth and a damage skin. However, he was known for his life of debauchery.
His life was tumultuous, he contracted many debts all over the country and had a strong addiction to gambling.
Mirabeau revolutionary ideas
Mirabeau was found of enlightenment ideas. He was opposed to the Ancien Regime system and wrote some essaies against the "royal despotism". Those publications sent his to prison from 177 to 1780.
Mirabeau role during the French Revolution
Mirabeau was the editor of a newspaper called "le courrier de Provence". He wanted to publish news about the Estates General meeting that was about to start in Versailles but his newspaper was shut down 3 days before, on May 2nd, 1789.
But this censorship didn't stop Mirabeau from publishing his paper which was read by many citizen.
Mirabeau tried to be elected representative in the Estates General meeting but the Nobility rejected his application. He then decided to join the Third Estates group and he was elected representative of the poorest in the the Estates General meeting.He was a great speaker at the Assembly and became very famous within the French people.
On June 23rd, 1789 he refused the decision of the king to dissolute the newly formed assembly. His answer to Louis XVI representatives remains famous:“ Tell those who sent you here that we stand here by the will of the people and we will leave only by the force of the bayonets ”.
On July 9th, 1789 Mirabeau wrote a letter to Louis XVI asking him to remove his troops from Paris gates.
Mirabeau late life
Mirabeau was one of the most eloquent speaker at the National Assembly. However, he was in favor of the creation of the Constitutional Monarchy when the revolutionaries wanted the creation of a Republic.
He moved closer to the king and even became his personal advisor in 1790.
In May 1790, he became president of the National Assembly but not for long. Mirabeau died on April 2nd, 1791. The cause of his death remains unclear. It might be poisoning or a failure.
The people of Paris moved his remains to the renowned Pantheon. But when the scandal of his secret alliance with the king spread, his remains were removed from the Pantheon. And Marat's remains replaced them instead.