Claire Lacombe, a Republican Militant

Claire Lacombe lived here! If her name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because most revolutionary women have been forgotten. And yet, in 1793, many Parisians knew her name. Originally from Marseille by way of Lyon, this actress attended meetings at the radical Cordeliers club. Along with other women, she demanded the right to take up arms in order to defend the Republic. She was even awarded for her bravery during the storming of the Tuileries on August 10, 1792. Close with the Enraged group, she campaigned so that the Republic would become more democratic and social. With Pauline Léon, she founded the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women in May 1793, a women’s only political club. Her radicalness upset a great number of people: arrested in 1794, she was freed a year later and retired from militant life.

The Club of Patriotic Women
The Club of Patriotic Women

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A speech by Claire Lacombe

On July 25, 1792, Claire Lacombe gave a speech at the National Assembly. She demanded the right to take up arms in order to defend the Republic, while at the same time expounding on a rather traditional vision of the maternal and educational role of women. “Unable to come to the aid of my country, which you have declared in danger, financially, I come to pay tribute to it with my body. Born with the courage of a Roman and the hatred of tyrants, I would be happy to contribute to their destruction (…) And other mothers, whom I would blame for leaving their children in order to follow my example, while I do my duty and fight the enemies of my country, fulfill your own, by instilling in your children the sentiments that every French person says they have at birth, the love of freedom and a hatred of despots.”

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