Jean Joseph Mounier - Encyclopedia




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JEAN JOSEPH MOUNIER (1758-1806), French politician, was born at Grenoble (Isere) on the 12th of November 1758. He studied law, and in 1783 obtained a judgeship at Grenoble. He took part in the struggle between the parlements and the court in 1788, and promoted the meeting of the estates of Dauphine at Vizille (July 20, 1788), which on the eve of the Revolution created an immense stir. He was secretary of this assembly, and drafted the cahiers of grievances and remonstrances presented by it to the king. Thus brought into prominence, Mounier was unanimously elected deputy of the third estate to the states general of 1789. There, and in the Constituent Assembly, he was at first an upholder of the new ideas, pronouncing himself in favour of the union of the Third Estate with the two privileged orders, proposing the famous oath of the Tennis Court, assisting in the preparation of the new constitution, and demanding the return of Necker. On the 28th of September 1789 he was elected president of the Constituent Assembly. Being unable, however, to approve the proceedings which followed, Mounier withdrew to Dauphine, gave in his resignation as deputy, and, becoming suspect, took refuge in Switzerland in 1790. He returned to France in 1801, was named by Bonaparte prefect of the department of Illeet-Vilaine, which he reorganized, and in 1805 was appointed councillor of state. He died in Paris on the 28th of January 1806. His principal writings are Considerations sur les gouvernements (1789); Recherches sur les causes qui ont empeche les Frangais de devenir libres (1792), and De l'Influence attribuee aux philosophes, aux francs-masons et aux illumines sur la revolution de la France (1801).

See F. A. Aulard, Les Orateurs de l'assemblee constituante (2nd ed., Paris, 1905); De Lanzac de Laborie, Un Royaliste liberal en 1789; Mounier (Paris, 1887); A. Rochas, Biographie du Dauphine (Paris, 1856); Berriat St Prix, Eloge historique de M. Mounier (1806); F. Boianovski, "Quelques lettres inedites de J. J. Mounier," in the Revue historique (1898).

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