The Abolition of Royalty - September 21, 1792

The Abolition of Royalty - September 21, 1792

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Title: Decree of the Convention abolishing the Royalty, September 21, 1792.

Creation date : 1792

Date shown: September 21, 1792

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage place: Museum of the History of France website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - Bulloz

Picture reference: 01-015891 / AE / II / 1316

Decree of the Convention abolishing the Royalty, September 21, 1792.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - Bulloz

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

On September 21, 1792, the National Convention decreed the abolition of royalty. Indeed, since the days of October 1789 which saw the Parisian women and workers bring back the king and his family from Versailles to the Tuileries, Louis XVI has been a prisoner of the people of Paris, who now control political power. In addition to serious problems of subsistence, it must face the financial crisis linked to the depreciation of assignats and the religious disturbances resulting from the application of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy voted on July 12, 1790.
Despite his oath to "maintain the Constitution", solemnly pronounced on July 14, 1790 during the feast of the Federation, Louis XVI wanted to break with the Revolution. His flight on June 21, 1791 completes the discrediting of the monarchy. On July 17, 1791, the Club des Cordeliers organized a demonstration in Champ-de-Mars to demand the deposition of the king, but the National Guard, commanded by La Fayette, fired on the rioters. Despite the establishment of the Legislative Assembly on October 1, 1791, the constitutional monarchy is struggling. With war declared on Austria on April 20, 1792, the disorganized French army suffered its first military setbacks. The king uses his right of veto, which provokes the insurrection of June 20, 1792, a prelude to that of August 10 which results in the suspension of Louis XVI, his imprisonment in the Temple and the convening of a National Convention, elected by suffrage. universal, responsible for drafting a new Constitution. On September 20, 1792, the victory of Valmy, won over the Prussians, had a considerable impact. The next day, the Convention held its first meeting and abolished royalty.

Image Analysis

This document is the minutes of the decree adopted unanimously by the deputies of the National Convention on September 21, 1792 and kept at the National Archives.

The text of the decree is very brief: "The national convention unanimously decrees that royalty is abolished in France. "Follow the signatures of Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve (1756-1794), president of the Convention, of Jean-Pierre Brissot de Varville (1754-1793) and of Marc David Alba Lasource (1763-1793), meeting secretaries, preceded by the following statement: "Collated in the original by us President and secretaries of the national convention in Paris this 22 7bre 1792, the first year of the French republic. "In the left margin of the document, the annotation" By virtue of the Decree of August 10, 1792 on 22 7th 1792, the first year of the French republic in the name of the nation ", signed by Gaspard Monge (1746-1818) and by Georges Danton (1759-1794), members of the Provisional Executive Council, recalls the suspension of the king decreed by the Legislative Assembly after the capture of the Tuileries by the Parisian sans-culottes.

Qualified as the National Assembly in the upper part of these minutes, the Convention follows on from the National Assembly resulting from the States General (June 17, 1789), the Constituent Assembly (June 20, 1789) and the Legislative Assembly (October 1, 1791) which gave way to it. It is the first document to be dated to the year I of the French Republic. The mention "The Fourth Year of Liberty" refers to a less radicalized political imagination and the disappointed hope of a royalty in harmony with the nation and the people.


The insurrection of August 10, 1792 led the Legislative Assembly to pronounce the suspension of the king, but not his deposition. Nevertheless, August 10 marks the effective end of the monarchy. Handed over to the discretion of the Paris Commune, Louis XVI is a prisoner in the Temple. Elected by universal suffrage, but with over 90% abstention, the National Convention is mandated to endow the country with new institutions. The bourgeois origin of its deputies does not lead them to indulgence towards the throne, and the unexpected victory of Valmy won on September 20, 1792, the very day the new assembly took office, consolidates them in their anti-monarchical convictions. . Also, when on September 21 the deputy Jean-Marie Collot d´Herbois (1750-1796) proposed the abolition of royalty, he encountered little resistance among his colleagues. When the conventional Claude Bazire (1764-1794) proposes to discuss it, the abbot Henri Grégoire (1750-1831), constitutional bishop of Blois, retorts him sharply: "What is need to discuss when everyone is Okay ? Kings are in the moral order what monsters are in the physical order. The Courts are the workshop of crime, the hotbed of corruption and the lair of tyrants. The history of kings is the martyrology of nations! "It is therefore unanimously that royalty is abolished. The next day, the official acts are dated the year I of the Republic, and, on September 25, on the proposal of Georges Couthon (1755-1794), the Convention votes the famous decree proclaiming that "the Republic is one and indivisible ”. It does nothing but concretize and legalize what the armed people have conquered.

The First Republic will then know three forms of government: the National Convention from September 21, 1792 to October 26, 1795, which includes the period of the Terror (1793-1794); the Directory, founded by the Constitution of Year III (October 26, 1795 - November 9, 1799); the Consulate from November 10, 1799 to May 18, 1804. While the Constitution of year XII confirms that "the government of the Republic is entrusted to a hereditary emperor", the term "republic" is gradually falling into disuse. It disappears in 1809 from the imperial coins, to be replaced by the mention "French Empire".

  • Convention
  • fall of royalty
  • Civil Constitution of the Clergy
  • French Revolution
  • Constituent Assembly
  • Tuileries
  • Cordeliers (Club of)
  • Champs de Mars
  • constitutional monarchy
  • Valmy
  • National Guard
  • Louis XVI
  • Temple
  • Monge (Gaspard)
  • Danton (Georges)
  • National Archives
  • nation
  • Universal suffrage
  • Abbot Gregory
  • La Fayette (Marquis of)
  • Constitution
  • Pétion de Villeneuve (Jérôme)
  • sans culottes
  • Days of October 1789
  • 1st Republic


Marie-Hélène BAYLAC, Blood of the Bourbons: death of the King and birth of the Republic, Paris, Larousse, 2009. Frédéric BLUCHE, Stéphane RIALS and Jean TULARD, The French Revolution, Paris, P.U.F., 2003.Denis RICHET, entry “Revolutionary Days”, in François Furet and Mona Ozouf, Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution, Paris, Flammarion, coll. "Champs Flammarion", 1992.Georges SORIA, Great history of the French Revolution, Paris, Bordas, 1988. Jean TULARD, Jean-François FAYARD and Alfred FIERRO, History and dictionary of the French Revolution 1789-1799, Paris, Robert Laffont, 1988. Michel VOVELLE, The Fall of the Monarchy 1787-1792, Paris, Le Seuil, coll. “Points Histoire”, 1972.

To cite this article

Alain GALOIN, "The Abolition of Royalty - September 21, 1792"

Video: MASSOLIT: Louis XVI and the Constitutional Monarchy