The French Revolution and Napoleon: A Sourcebook

By Philip G. Dwyer; Peter McPhee | Go to book overview

4

EXCLUSIONS AND INCLUSIONS

Petition from Jewish Communities, 28 January 1790

The Declaration of the Rights of Man had already held out the promise that henceforth all citizens would share equal rights to freedom of conscience and the external practice of their faith. By the end of 1789 full citizenship had been granted to Protestants and, the following January, to the Sephardic Jews of Bordeaux and Avignon (by only 374 votes to 280). The Assembly hesitated to grant equality to Ashkenazim Jews of eastern France in the face of the anti-Semitism of deputies from Alsace, such as Jean-François Reubell from Colmar, who opposed citizenship for eastern Jews at the same time as he campaigned for the rights of slaves. This prompted this spirited reminder from eastern Jews in January 1790. Only during the final sessions of the National Assembly in September 1791 were the eastern Jews granted full equality and the right to stand for election.

We remember that the National Assembly, in granting to non-Catholics who fulfil the conditions of eligibility the right to be chosen for all grades of administration, and to possess civil and military positions like other citizens, declared in the same decree that it did not mean to make any premature judgement on the Jews, on whom it would decide later. It is on this indefinite adjournment, which left the fate of 50,000 Jews established in France in suspense, that their deputies come, in their name, to present this petition to the National Assembly. The Jews of Bordeaux have asked, at the same time, to enjoy the active rights of citizens, for which they possess the statement declared in the letters patent. Their petition was presented to the Assembly by a prelate as distinguished for his wisdom as for his patriotism, and who, thanks to his good principles and good example, has the good fortune to be honoured in the same degree, both in the esteem of good citizens, and the hatred of the enemies of the public good. Despite the prejudicial cries and

-35-

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The French Revolution and Napoleon: A Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations xi
  • Preface xiii
  • A Note on the Revolutionary Calendar xv
  • Chronology xvi
  • 1 - The Ancien Régime Challenged 1
  • 2 - Revolutionary Action 16
  • 3 - Creating a Regenerated France 24
  • 4 - Exclusions and Inclusions 35
  • 5 - The Church and the Revolutionary State 43
  • 6 - Monarchy and Revolution 51
  • 7 - The Revolution at War 60
  • 8 - The End of the Monarchy 68
  • 9 - The Peasantry and the Rural Environment 80
  • 10 - A New Civic Culture 84
  • 11 - The Republic at War 90
  • 12 - Revolt in the Vendée 97
  • 13 - The Terror at Work 103
  • 14 - The Thermidorian Reaction 115
  • 15 - The Directory 121
  • 16 - Bonaparte 128
  • 17 - Law and Order 140
  • 18 - Rule by Plebiscite 149
  • 19 - Governing the Empire 155
  • 20 - Resistance and Repression 169
  • 21 - The Russian Catastrophe 175
  • 22 - Collapse 187
  • 23 - The Hundred Days 193
  • 24 - French Men and Women Reflect 202
  • Index 209
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