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François Hanriot

François Hanriot

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François Hanriot was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 leader and street orator of the Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. He played a vital role in the Insurrection and subsequently the fall of the Girondins.

Early years


François Hanriot was born to poor parents in Nanterre
Nanterre
Nanterre is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located west of the center of Paris.Nanterre is the capital of the Hauts-de-Seine department as well as the seat of the Arrondissement of Nanterre....

, a western suburb of Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. His parents were servants to a Parisian bourgeoise which most likely helped influence his support of the Revolution later in life.

Not a man of any specific profession, Hanriot held a variety of different jobs. He lost his first employment with a procureur doing mostly secretarial work, but lost his position due to reasons of dishonesty. Next, he obtained a clerkship in the Paris octroi
Octroi
Octroi is a local tax collected on various articles brought into a district for consumption.-Antiquity:Octroi taxes have a respectable antiquity, being known in Roman times as vectigalia...

in 1789 doing tax work. His position here was also ill-fated, as he was again fired after leaving his station the night of 12 July, 1789, when angry Parisians attempted to burn the building down. After his string of unfortunate professions, Hanriot remained unemployed and subsequently very poor.
His next string of occupations is rather hazy in history; many people of the time connect him to a variety of professions including a shopkeeper, a peddler, and a stint as a soldier in America serving under Lafayette
Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette
Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette , often known as simply Lafayette, was a French aristocrat and military officer born in Chavaniac, in the province of Auvergne in south central France...

 (whom he would later speak against to other patriot sans-culottes). He was eventually an orator for a local section of sans-culottes
Sans-culottes
In the French Revolution, the sans-culottes were the radical militants of the lower classes, typically urban laborers. Though ill-clad and ill-equipped, they made up the bulk of the Revolutionary army during the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars...

.

First roles in the Revolution


After generating a more substantial fortune and moving to Rue de la Clef, a Parisian quarter inhabited by royalists and sans-culottes
Sans-culottes
In the French Revolution, the sans-culottes were the radical militants of the lower classes, typically urban laborers. Though ill-clad and ill-equipped, they made up the bulk of the Revolutionary army during the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars...

 alike, in January 1793, Hanriot
François Hanriot
François Hanriot was a French leader and street orator of the Revolution. He played a vital role in the Insurrection and subsequently the fall of the Girondins.-Early years:...

 soon became well known for his anti-aristocratic outlook. He was strongly in favor of imposing taxes on the aristocracy, presenting them "with a bill in one hand and a pistol in the other." With this attitude he gained a loyal following of local sans-culottes
Sans-culottes
In the French Revolution, the sans-culottes were the radical militants of the lower classes, typically urban laborers. Though ill-clad and ill-equipped, they made up the bulk of the Revolutionary army during the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars...

 and they would adopt him as their section leader in the September Massacres
September Massacres
The September Massacres were a wave of mob violence which overtook Paris in late summer 1792, during the French Revolution. By the time it had subsided, half the prison population of Paris had been executed: some 1,200 trapped prisoners, including many women and young boys...

 later that year. It is during those riots that he was supposedly the man who ripped the innards from Princesse de Lamballe, Queen Marie Antionette's friend and servant.

Overnight fame


His involvement in the September Massacres
September Massacres
The September Massacres were a wave of mob violence which overtook Paris in late summer 1792, during the French Revolution. By the time it had subsided, half the prison population of Paris had been executed: some 1,200 trapped prisoners, including many women and young boys...

 secured his place as a soldier in the Parisian National Guard, gradually rising up to the rank of captain. His position here seemed to remain stagnate, until the night of 30 May 1793. Overnight, Hanriot was promoted from a regular captain to the position of "Commandant-General" of the Parisian National Guard by the council of the Paris Commune
Paris Commune (French Revolution)
The Paris Commune during the French Revolution was the government of Paris from 1789 until 1795. Established in the Hôtel de Ville just after the storming of the Bastille, the Commune became insurrectionary in the summer of 1792, essentially refusing to take orders from the central French...

. This placed thousands of men under his command, making him a very formidable force in Paris.

The insurrection


On the following morning, 31 May 1793, he was chosen by the Paris Commune to lead the Parisian National Guard to the National Convention
National Convention
During the French Revolution, the National Convention or Convention, in France, comprised the constitutional and legislative assembly which sat from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795 . It held executive power in France during the first years of the French First Republic...

 and demand the dissolution of the Committee of the Twelve
Committee of Public Safety
The Committee of Public Safety , created in April 1793 by the National Convention and then restructured in July 1793, formed the de facto executive government in France during the Reign of Terror , a stage of the French Revolution...

 and the arrest of select Girondists. There were twenty-two chosen members that the Commune, mostly selected by Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat , born in the Principality of Neuchâtel, was a physician, political theorist, and scientist best known for his career in France as a radical journalist and politician during the French Revolution...

, that were to be taken into custody. Hanriot was to lead the National Guard, demand the accused to exit, and prevent bloodshed. The deputies of the Convention only came out after Hanriot threatened to burn the entire building down. When they exited, the deputies were prepared to fight. However, the Paris National Guard was also prepared to fire on any who opposed them. The intimidated deputies went back inside, and formally voted to hand over the accused in three days. Though some members of the Paris Commune thought the events of 31 May to be a waste of time, it actually proved to be an important turning point in the forming of the Republic. Paris had avoided another mass riot, like that of the September Massacres
September Massacres
The September Massacres were a wave of mob violence which overtook Paris in late summer 1792, during the French Revolution. By the time it had subsided, half the prison population of Paris had been executed: some 1,200 trapped prisoners, including many women and young boys...

, preserving hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of lives. It was one of the first “peaceful” negotiations to take place during that tumultuous time.

Instead of waiting the agreed three days, the Commune decided to take the selected Girondin into custody on 2 June. The Commune, however, was skeptical of the safety of the Convention, worried about any moderate supporters who may deter them from making the arrest. As a solution, Hanriot had close to 100,000 men organized to surround Tuileries Palace
Tuileries Palace
The Tuileries Palace was a royal palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine until 1871, when it was destroyed in the upheaval during the suppression of the Paris Commune...

; only about five thousand of those troops were Hanriot’s select troops that knew what was going on. The rest are said to have been clueless as to why they were there. Every possible exit was blocked and with so many guardsmen, there would be little room for a riot to break loose. As the president of the Convention came out, he was reluctant to hand over the Girondin. Hanriot said nothing, but stoically waved to his guard, a signal to draw their weapons. The president, realizing his perilous situation, then agreed to (again) to hand over them over. The Girondin had fallen, thanks to Hanriot.

On 11 June he resigned his command, declaring that order had been restored. On 13 June he was impeached
Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

 by the Convention, but the motion was not carried, and on 1 July he was elected by the Commune permanent Commander of the Armed Forces of Paris. His fame in the eyes of Parisians would not last long though.

End of the Revolution


As Hanriot was a self-proclaimed Robespierrist, the fall of Maximilien Robespierre
Maximilien Robespierre
Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre is one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. He largely dominated the Committee of Public Safety and was instrumental in the period of the Revolution commonly known as the Reign of Terror, which ended with his...

 near the end of the Terror marked the end for Hanriot as well. On 27 July 1794 Hanriot was meeting with members of the Commune when the warrant for Robespierre’s arrest was issued. With other members, he set out to rally the sections in an attempt to stop what he saw to be a counter-revolution. The Commune then ordered the closest followers of Robespierre to be arrested as well. His arrest was decreed, but he had already sounded the tocsin, the city's alarm system, and went to rescue Robespierre, who was under arrest in the hall of the Committee of General Security
Committee of General Security
The Committee of General Security was a French parliamentary committee which acted as police agency during the French Revolution that, along with the Committee of Public Safety, oversaw the Reign of Terror....

.

The handful of troops that had organized was not enough to keep Hanriot safe and he was captured and put with Robespierre in the Place de Greve. More troops rallied and were able to rescue Hanriot, who only ordered for another attempt to save Robespierre. After Robespierre was saved, he, Hanriot, and others were sentenced to immediate execution upon arrest. When the Convention’s forces discovered their hiding place in the Hôtel de Ville
Hôtel de Ville, Paris
The Hôtel de Ville |City Hall]]) in :Paris, France, is the building housing the City of Paris's administration. Standing on the place de l'Hôtel de Ville in the city's IVe arrondissement, it has been the location of the municipality of Paris since 1357...

 the men did everything imaginable to avoid capture. While one committed suicide, and Robespierre attempted it, Hanriot was pushed out a side window only to be knocked unconscious and found the following day in a pile of manure. He was taken to the guillotine
Guillotine
The guillotine is a device used for carrying out :executions by decapitation. It consists of a tall upright frame from which an angled blade is suspended. This blade is raised with a rope and then allowed to drop, severing the head from the body...

shortly after Robespierre on 28 July, 1794, only semi-conscious when they led him to the platform.