Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac

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Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac (September 10, 1755 – January 13, 1841) was a French politician and journalist, one of the most notorious members of the National Convention during the French Revolution.


Early career

He was born at Tarbes in Gascony. The name Barère de Vieuzac, by which he continued to call himself long after the renunciation of feudal rights on the August 4 abolition of feudalism, came from a small fief belonging to his father, a lawyer at Vieuzac. Barère's father, Jean Barère, was a procurator and a lawyer. His grandfather, Bertrand Barère, was a priest, doctor of theology, and vicar. Barère’s mother, Jeanne-Catherine Marrast, was of old nobility.[1] When Barère was a child, he went to a parish school, and when he and his siblings were of age, his brother, Jean-Pierre, became a priest.[2] After finishing school, Barère attended a college before he began his career in revolutionary politics. He began to practice as a lawyer at the parlement of Toulouse in 1770, and soon earned a reputation as an orator, while his fame as an essayist led to his election as a member of the Academy of Floral Games of Toulouse in 1788.

He married at the age of thirty. Four years later (1789), he was elected deputy by the estates of Bigorre to the Estates-General — he had made his first visit to Paris in the preceding year. Barère de Vieuzac at first belonged to the constitutional party, but he was less known as a speaker in the National Constituent Assembly than as a journalist. His paper, the Point du Jour, according to François Victor Alphonse Aulard, owed its reputation not so much to its own qualities as to the fact that the painter Jacques-Louis David, in his sketch of the Tennis Court Oath, showed Barère kneeling in the corner and writing a report of the proceedings for posterity.

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