See also:assembly which sat from the aoth of
See also:September 1792 to the 26th of
See also:October 1795 (the 4th of
See also:Brumaire of the
See also:year IV.) . On the loth of
See also:August 1792, when the populace of
See also:Paris stormed the Tuileries and demanded the abolition of the
See also:monarchy, the Legislative Assembly decreed the provisional suspension of the
See also:king and the convocation of a
See also:convention which should draw up a constitution . At the same
See also:time it was decided that the deputies to that convention should be elected by all Frenchmen 25 years old, domiciled for a year and living by the product of their labour . The National Convention was therefore the first French assembly elected by universal
See also:suffrage, without distinctions of class . The age limit of the electors was further lowered to 21, and that of eligibility was fixed at 25 years . The first session was held on the loth of September 1792 . The next
See also:royalty was abolished, and on the sand it was decided that all documents should be henceforth dated from the year I. of the French Republic . The Convention was destined to last for three years . The
See also:country was at war, and it seemed best to postpone the new constitution until peace should be concluded . At the same time as the Convention prolonged its
See also:powers it extended them considerably in
See also:order to meet the pressing dangers which menaced the Republic . Though a legislative assembly, it took over the executive power, entrusting it to its own members . This "confusion of powers," which was contrary to the philosophical theories—those of Montesquieu especially—which had inspired the Revolution at first, was one of the essential characteristics of the Convention .
Theseries of exceptional
See also:measures by which that confusion of powers was created constitutes the "Revolutionary
See also:government" in the strict sense of the word, a government which was principally in vigour during the
See also:period called "the Terror." It is thus necessary to distinguish, in the
See also:work of the Convention, the temporary expedients from measures intended to be permanent . The Convention held its first session in a
See also:hall of the Tuileries, then it sat in the hall of Manegey and finally from. the loth of May 1793 in that of the
See also:Spectacles (or
See also:Machines), an immense hall in which the deputies were but loosely scattered . This last hall had tribunes for the public, which often influenced the debate by interruptions or applause . The full number of deputies was 749, not counting 33 from the colonies, of whom only a section arrived in Paris . Besides these, however, the departments annexed from 1792 to 1795 were allowed to send deputations . Many of the
See also:original deputies died or were exiled during the Convention, but not all their places were filled by suppleants . Some of those proscribed during the Terror returned after the 9th of Thermidor . Finally, many members were sent. away either to the departments or to the armies, on
See also:missions which lasted sometimes for a considerable length of time . For all these reasons it is difficult to find out the number of deputies
See also:present at any given date, for votes by
See also:call were rare . Inthe Terror the number of those voting averaged only 250 . The members of the Convention were
See also:drawn from all classes of society, but the most numerous were lawyers . Seventy-five members had sat in the Constituent Assembly, 183 in the Legislative .
According to its own ruling, the Convention elected its
See also:president every fortnight . He was eligible for re-election after the lapse of a fortnight . Ordinarily the sessions were held in the
See also:morning, but evening sessions were also frequent, often extending
See also:late into the
See also:night . Sometimes in exceptional circumstances the Convention declared itself in permanent session and sat for several days without interruption . For both legislative and administrative purposes the Convention used committees, with powers more or less widely extended and regulated by successive
See also:laws . The most famous of these committees are those of Public Safety, of General Security, of
See also:Education (Comite de salut public, Comite de silrete generale, Comite de l'instruction) . The work of the Convention was immense in all branches of public affairs . To appreciate it without
See also:prejudice, one should recall that this assembly saved France from a
See also:civil war and invasion, that it founded the
See also:system of public education (Museum, Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole Normale Superieure, Ecole
See also:des Langues orientales,
See also:Conservatoire), created institutions of capital importance, like that of the
See also:Grand Livre de la Dette publique, and definitely established the social and
See also:political gains of the Revolution . See FRENCH REVOLUTION;
See also:DANTON; ROBESPIERRE;
See also:MARAT, &C .
CONVENTION (Lat. conventio, an assembly or agreemen...
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