Antoine-François Momoro


Antoine-François Momoro

Infobox Person
name = Antoine-François Momoro


image_size = 200 px
caption =Antoine François Momoro,
"First Printer of National Liberty"
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birth_date = 1756
birth_place = Besançon, France
death_date = 24 March 1794
Paris
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nationality = French
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known_for = Originator of the phrase "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité", the motto of the French Republic
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occupation = Printer
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Antoine-François Momoro (1756, Besançon 24 March 1794, Paris) was a French printer, bookseller and politician during the French Revolution. An important figure in the Cordeliers club and in Hébertisme, he is the originator of the phrase "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité", the motto of the French Republic. [cite book |title=Famous Sayings and Their Authors: A Collection of Historical Sayings in English, French, German, Greek, Italian, and Latin |last=Latham |first=Edward |year=1906 |publisher=Swan Sonnenschein |location=London |isbn= |oclc=4697187 |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=xvkNAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA147&lpg=PA147&dq=Antoine-Fran%C3%A7ois+Momoro+Libert%C3%A9,+%C3%89galit%C3%A9,+Fraternit%C3%A9&source=web&ots=asCkQ6kuoe&sig=Kc0SmtuiJg6f3F6cu-IburniJwY&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result |pages=p. 147]

Life

"First Printer of Liberty"

His family originated in Spain but had recently settled in Franche-Comté. Antoine-François Momoro studied in his home town and moved to Paris in the 1780s whilst still very young, where he was received into the Parisian printers' guild in 1787. He showed a particular talent as a typographer and before the outbreak of the Revolution he was just one of the many booksellers in the French capital, though he did publish many different works during this time, such as "Traité élémentaire de l’imprimerie, ou le manuel de l’imprimeur" (1787, a work on popularistation which would long be a reference work for printers). The outbreak of the Revolution and the declaration of the freedom of the press in August 1789 massively boosted his output and would change his destiny.

An open opponent of even a constituional monarchy and of the Roman Catholic religion, Momoro keenly threw himself into the revolutionary cause and put his abilities at the service of the new ideas. At the start of the Revolution he bought up several presses, opened a press at 171 rue de la Harpe and launched himself into politics. His initial output remained cautious however, as shown by his refusal in June 1789 to be the first publisher of "La France Libre" by Camille Desmoulins [ [http://home.nordnet.fr/~blatouche/pa3.html Association Camille Desmoulins, Biographie de Camille Desmoulin, 3. Brochures et pamphlets] ] . He won the exclusive concession to typography and printing from the Paris Commune and became secretary to the "Société des droits de l’homme", which later became the "Club des Cordeliers", whose journal he published as well as becoming one of his loudest orators.

Momoro is also among the signatories of the anti-monarchical petition which led to the Champ de Mars massacre, an event that would end in formalising the split between the moderates and extremists. In the wake of this affair, which led to his imprisonment until September 1791, Momoro resumed his printing activities under his self-given title of "first printer of the national liberty", publishing Hébert's "Le Père Duchesne".

Radicalisation

A member of the section du Théâtre-Français, in June 1792 he, Danton and Chaumette wrote and signed a declaration which suppressed the distinction between passive and active citizens in the section. He then took an active part in the insurrection of 10 August 1792. He more and more supported the "enragés" more than the more moderate indulgents. He was elected by the section to the Directoire du département de Paris and it was then that he and mayor Pache inscribed the motto "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité" on the façades of all public buildings. After a recruiting mission in Calvados and Eure, he returned to Paris where he was made president of the section du Théâtre-Français.

He took an active part in dechristianisation and it was his wife, Sophie Momoro (née Fournier), who played the Goddess of Reason at the first "Fête de la Liberté et de la Raison" on 20 brumaire year II, as a result of which the Commune decreed the closure of all churches.

He was sent into the Vendée in May 1793, where he acted as deputy to Charles-Philippe Ronsin at the siege of the état-major at Saumur, in a mission to ensure the army fighting against the revolt there was well supplied. On his return to Paris, in a long "Rapport sue la politique de la Vendée fait au comité de Salut Public", he explained the reasons for setbacks to Ronsin's strategy in the Vendée and defended general Rossignol, contributing to his rehabilitation.

When Marat was assassinated in July 1793, Momoro aspired to succeed him as champion of the people and their cause. He persuaded the Cordeliers to go ahead with the publication of the "L'Ami du Peuple" at his press.

Fall

After working for the fall of the Girondists in the struggle between the Commune and the Convention, he participated in attacks on Danton, Robespierre (who he accused of modérantisme) [Discours de Momoro aux Cordeliers, 12 February 1794] , and the Committee of Public Safety. Pushed onwards by a report by Saint-Just to the Convention denouncing the "complot de l’étranger" woven by the Indulgents and Exagérés, the committee decided on the arrest of the Hébertistes on 13 March 1794. On 24 March the revolutionary tribunal condemned Momoro to death, and he loudly replied "You accuse me, who have given everything for the Revolution!" He was guillotined with the other hébertistes at 6pm the following day, 4 germinal, year II (24 March 1790).

References

Sources

* [http://www.angers.fr/index.php?id=51429&id_rue=715&no_cache=1 Dictionnaire des rues] fr|icon
* [http://www.royet.org/nea1789-1794/notes/acteurs/momoro.htm Antoine-François MOMORO (1756-1794)] fr|icon
* [http://content.cdlib.org/xtf/view?docId=ft0z09n7hf&doc.view=content&chunk.id=d0e8812&toc.depth=1&anchor.id=0&brand=eschol "The New World of the Printed Word, 1789–1799"]
* [http://www.autographe.org/cat52.htm "Texte du citoyen Nicolas Leblanc"] fr|icon
* [http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18865/18865-8.txt Lavallée, T. "Histoire de Paris depuis le temps des Gaulois jusqu'à nos jours - I"] fr|icon
* [http://home.nordnet.fr/~blatouche/JH3.html Le Club des Cordeliers] fr|icon

Persondata
NAME = Antoine-François Momoro
ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Printer
DATE OF BIRTH = 1756
PLACE OF BIRTH = Besançon, France
DATE OF DEATH = 24 March 1794
PLACE OF DEATH = Paris


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