The levee des 300,000 hommes (1793)

On February 24th 1793 the National Convention passed the Levee des 300,000 hommes or ‘Conscription of 300,000 men’, a response to the worsening state of the war. This decree was a pivotal factor in tipping the Vendee into a state of counter-revolution:

“The National Convention decrees to all Frenchmen that the united tyrants of Europe threaten liberty. As a consequence, it decrees:

Article 1. That all French citizens, from the age of 18 to 40 years, unmarried or widowed without children, are in a state of permanent conscription until such time as the full complement of recruitment of 300,000 men, decreed below…

Law regarding the levying of 300,000 men and on the method to be followed to implement this levy.

Article 1. The National Convention calls on 300,000 men who will, within as short a time as possible, rally to the armies of the Republic…

Any citizen who is called on to march in defence of the fatherland, in conformity with what has been stated in the preceding articles, will be able to have himself replaced by another citizen in a fit condition to bear arms, and aged at least 18…

Article 19. The following are not included in the general call for this levy:

1. Those whose incapacities put them in no state to carry arms.

2. Administrators making up the departmental and district directories…

5. Mayors of communes, municipal officers and public prosecutors.

6. Members of the civil and criminal courts, clerks of court, national commissioners, justices of the peace.

7. District tax collectors.

8. Tax collectors and directors of registration.

9. Workers employed in the manufacture of arms and gunpowder.”