The Legislative Assembly declares war (1792)


The Legislative Assembly declared war on Austria on April 20th 1792. This is an excerpt of the Assembly’s declaration:


“The Assembly, deliberating on the formal proposition of the king, considering that the Court of Vienna, in contempt of treaties, has not ceased to grant open protection to rebel Frenchmen, that it prompted and took concerted action with several European powers against the independence and safety of the French nation…

That Francois I, king of Hungary and Bohemia, has, by his messages of March 18th and April 7th, refused to renounce this action;

That in spite of the proposition that was put to him in the message of March 11th 1792, to reduce the troops on the borders to a state of peace on both sides, he has continued and increased preparations for hostilities;

That he has formally conspired against the sovereignty of the French nation, by declaring his desire to support the pretensions of the German princes with possessions in France, to whom the French nation has never ceased to offer compensation…

Considering finally that this refusal to respond to the latest dispatches of the king of the French no longer leaves it any hope of obtaining, by means of amicable negotiation, the righting of these different grievances, and is equivalent to a declaration of war…

The Legislative Assembly declares that the French nation, true to the principles established in the Constitution not to undertake war with a view to making conquests, and never to use its forces against the freedom of a people, only takes up arms in order to maintain its liberty and its independence… that the war that it is obliged to support is in no way a war of nation against nation, but the rightful defence of a free people against the unjust aggression of a king…

That the French will never confuse their brothers with their true enemies; that they will neglect nothing to soften the curse of war… that it adopts in advance all those foreigners who, renouncing the cause of its enemies, come to line up under its flag and dedicate their efforts to the defence of its liberty…”