Jean-Joseph Mounier

mounierJean-Joseph Mounier (1758-1806) was a French politician and jurist who had a significant role in the first months of the revolution. Mounier was born in Grenoble, the son of a cloth manufacturer. His family was affluent enough for Mounier to undertake studies in law, during which time he became friends with Antoine-Pierre Barnave. Mounier took up a magistracy in his native Grenoble, before being swept up in the unfolding revolution in 1788. He oversaw the writing of local cahiers and penned essays condemning the parlements and urging national political reform. Mounier was elected to represent the Third Estate at the Estates General, where he advocated voting by head. In the summer of 1789 Mounier appeared at the forefront of the revolution: he suggested the famous Tennis Court Oath, sat as a member of the National Assembly, chaired its constitutional committee and, in September, became the Assembly’s president. But despite these achievements, Mounier was a constitutional monarchist who remained loyal to the king. The treatment of the royal family in October 1789, followed by the government’s insipid response, horrified him. He resigned from the Assembly later that month and returned to Grenoble. In May 1790 he was forced to take exile in Switzerland, where he remained until 1801. He returned to France and served in Napoleon’s government briefly until his death in 1805.

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