Barnave, Antoine Pierre Joseph Marie

Barnave, Antoine Pierre Joseph Marie äNtwänˈ pyĕr zhōzĕfˈ märēˈ bärnävˈ [key], 1761–93, French revolutionary. A member of the States-General of 1789 from Grenoble, he was a brilliant speaker and leader of the Jacobins. After Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette fled to Varennes in 1791, Barnave believed that the king might finally be persuaded to accept a constitutional government, thereby avoiding the impending political anarchy. He began a correspondence with Marie Antoinette, encouraging her to convert the monarchy to the Revolution; this correspondence was later used as evidence of Barnave's treasonous activities. In July, 1791, he spoke in the assembly in favor of the restoration of the king as a constitutional monarch and appealed for an end to the Revolution. He retired to Grenoble, and was tried for treason and guillotined (1793). His history of the French Revolution, written during his imprisonment, is considered a major work that tried to put the Revolution into a broader political and social framework.

See E. Chill, Power, Property, and History: Barnave's Introduction to the French Revolution and Other Writings (1971).

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