Louis-Michel le Peletier, marquis de Saint-Fargeau  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Louis-Michel le Peletier, marquis de Saint-Fargeau (sometimes spelled Lepeletier or Lepelletier; 29 May 1760 – 20 January 1793) was a French politician.

Career

Born in Paris, he belonged to a well-known family, his great-grandfather, Michel Robert Le Peletier des Forts, count of Saint-Fargeau, having been Controller-General of Finances. After the death of his title holding family, Lepeletier gained a vast amount of wealth.

He entered into politics by becoming a lawyer ("avocat") in the employ of the Place du Chatelet, a prison. In 1785 Le Peletier was advanced to avocat-general. In 1789 he was elected to the Parlement of Paris, and in that same year he became a deputy of the noblesse to the States-General.

Initially, he shared the conservative views of the majority of his class, but by degrees his ideas changed and became increasingly radical. On 13 July 1789 he demanded the recall of Necker, whose dismissal by the king had aroused great excitement in Paris. In the Constituent Assembly he moved the abolition of the death penalty, of the galleys and of branding, and the substitution of beheading for hanging. This attitude won him great popularity, and on 21 June 1790 he was made president of the Constituent Assembly. He remained in this position until 5 July 1790.

During the existence of the Legislative Assembly, he was elected President of the General Council for the Yonne département in 1791. He was then elected by this département to become a deputy to the Convention. Here he was in favor of the trial of Louis XVI by the assembly and was a deciding vote for the death of the king.

While in the Convention Le Peletier focused mainly on revolutionary reform of education, promoting a Spartan education. It called for both males and females to be taught in state-run schools and taught revolutionary ideas instead of the customary history, science, mathematics, language and religion. His educational plan was supported by Robespierre and his ideas were borrowed in later schemes, notably by Jules Ferry.



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