Sunday, November 8, 2009

Madame Roland

Madame Roland was once on the cutting edge of the French Revolution. She ended life under the guillotine, on this day in 1793. Madame Roland and her husband were among the Girodonist faction, so named due to the predominant geographic sourcing of its members from the region of the Gironde estuary (where the mouths of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers merge); comprised of much of the former provinces of Guyenne and Gascogne.

Madame Roland held a salon in her house, which became the meeting place for the Girodonists. This group became powerful prior to the actual revolution, forcing King Louis XVI in 1792 to appoint a ministry comprised of its adherents. One of these was Roland's husband, Jean-Marie Roland de la Platiere.

The Girodonists wound up in a power struggle with the Montagnards, whose leading members included Robespierrre, Marat and Danton. Eventually, the Girodonists were destroyed. Mssr. Roland fled to Rouen, while Madame Roland was imprisoned, and eventually beheaded - quite possibly to get at her husband. Madame Roland is remembered for her remark on the Statue of Liberty in the Place de la Revolution, where she was to be executed: "Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name."

Scott includes Madame Roland in his "Life of Napoleon Buonaparte" seven times, with a reference also to her husband as the husband of Madame Roland.

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