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Louis Philippe Joseph Orléans, duc d'

Orléans, Louis Philippe Joseph, duc d' (lwē fēlēpˈ zhôzĕfˈ dük dôrlāäNˈ) [key], known as Philippe Égalité āgälētāˈ, 1747–93, French revolutionist; great-grandson of Philippe II, duc d'Orléans (see Orléans, family) and great-great-great-grandson of King Louis XIII. First duke of Montpensier and then duke of Chartres, he succeeded his father as duke of Orléans in 1785. A libertine, he squandered his immense wealth, then, to recoup his fortune, lined the gardens of his Palais Royal with shops. The gardens became a gathering point for the popular elements of Paris. He became a leader of the discontented faction in the Assembly of the Notables (1787), and he was briefly exiled for protesting the king's attempt to force the Parlement of Paris to consent to taxation. As a deputy to the States-General (1789), he was one of the liberal nobles who joined the third estate (June 25, 1789). After incurring blame for disturbances in the capital, he accepted a mission (Oct., 1789–July, 1790) to England. His liberal views were suspected of cloaking an ambition to become constitutional monarch, and as the revolution progressed he lost the confidence of both republicans and royalists. After exchanging his title for the name Citizen Égalité, he was elected to the National Convention (Sept., 1792), where he joined the Mountain and voted for the execution of King Louis XVI. When his eldest son deserted to the enemy with General Dumouriez, Philippe Égalité was arrested (Apr., 1793). He was guillotined (November) during the Reign of Terror. His son became King Louis Philippe.

See study by G. A. Kelly (1982).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: French History: Biographies


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