Lawyer in 1781 then judge in 1782 in Arras, he participated in the drafting of the notebooks of grievances and was elected deputy of the third estate in 1789. He thus participated in the states general the same year. He became the principal leader of the Jacobin Club in 1791, defending the freedom of the press and of expression, and criticizing the royal right of veto.
Nicknamed "the Incorruptible", he successively became a member of the insurrectionary Commune of Paris, a Montagnard deputy under the Convention, and leader of the Committee of Public Safety (the revolutionary government) thanks to a program of integral democracy which continues to harden proposing even the downfall of the king. He voted for the death of the latter during his trial. He wanted to impose his ideal of democracy based on virtue by establishing a regime of Terror in 1793. The revolutionary government appeared as the appropriate response to these difficult times. Thus all his opponents were successively executed:the Girondins, the Indulgents, etc. He also voted for the cult of the Supreme Being to fight against dechristianization.
The hostility towards him was then palpable in the Assembly. Declared an outlaw by the latter, he was arrested on July 27, 1794 and guillotined the next day alongside his supporters. His death led shortly after to the end of the Terror.
1758 - 1794
Member of the insurrectionary Commune of Paris