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"The Archangel of the Terror". A dashing young man, Saint-Just was born in Decize, Bourbonnais, on August 25th, 1767. Louis Antoine Léon de Saint-Juste studied at Soissons and then at Reims. In May 1789 he was in legal proceedings against him because of a poem he had written that was considered obscene. When the revolution broke out, he quickly embraced the new ideas and was elected by the voters of the Aisne department. He immediately chose to sit with the left-wing 'Montagnards' in the Convention.
He first came to the fore in the Covention in November 1792 when he spoke in favour of the summary execution of the King without trial. Saint-Just wanted to see an egalitarian republic based on the ideals of ancient Rome. He went on to collaborate on the Constitution of Year I, which was very left-wing but never applied. He was sent on missions to galvanise the revolutionary armies, contributing to the success at Fleurus. His contribution, however, often involved ordering ruthless summary executions. One contemporary and colleague wrote of the young zealot, "He would give his own head for his republican ideal, but he would also have given 100, 000 others along with his own!"1
Saint-Just was convinced of the truth of his ideals and became the implacable mastermind behind the revolutionary government. He ruthlessly pursued all enemies of his ideal - purging first the Girondins, then the Hébertistes and finally Danton's supporters. He had decrees passed allowing the state to confiscate and redistribute suspects' property. His only written work is the 'Fragments on the Institutions of the Republic'.
Despite have drifted apart somewhat from his friend and political mentor Robespierre in the final weeks before the 9th Thermidor, Saint-Just remained faithful to his master to the end all the way to the scaffold where they were guillotined together on July 28th 1794.
"Nobody can rule guiltlessly," claimed Saint-JustThis entry is part of the French Revolution University Project.