National Convention

The National Convention was elected to draft a new constitution for France after the suspension of the king by the legislative assembly. The elected NC started its session in September 192.The convention consisted of 782 members elected on the basis of universal male franchise. The members differed on ideological basis. Girondists were stern supporters of democratic republic. Brissot, Condorcet and Thomas Penn were prominent Girondists leaders. The Jacobin leaders were extremists who occupied prominent positions. They were called Mountainists.Robespierre, Danton, Corneu, Camille were prominent Jacobins. The NC introduced various reforms in France to consolidate and strengthen the ideals of revolution. The convention abandoned the draft constitutions of the Girondins and Jacobins and enacted a new constitution. It began with a declaration of duties as well as of the rights. The constitution framers ignored the practical value of executive leadership resting on legislative support. The administration of the country at large under this constitution was a compromise between the centralization of the old regime and the decentralization of the constitutional monarchy. The new constitution proclaimed France as a Republican state. The codification of the national laws was taken in hand and it was provided that there would be no imprisonment for debt or slavery at French colonies.

The price of grain and other necessities of the life were fixed along with the wages. The convention established Normal School, the Polytechnic School, Museum of Louvre, the National Library and Institute De France. A new and uniform system of weights and measures called the metric system was introduced in the country. Women were given right to property and children had equal share in the father’s property. The property of the émigrés was confiscated. Persons of wealth, clergymen and nobles were treated as suspects. Large landed estates of the émigrés was disbanded and offered for sale in small parts to the ordinary people. A large number of peasant-proprietors were created. All distinctions of high and low born were eliminated. The use of silk stockings and knee breaches a privilege of the aristocracy was forbidden. The new republican calendar was introduced according to which the year was divided into 12 months named after the appropriate weather or crops. Each month was to be of three weeks and the weeks of 10 days each. Every tenth day was declared a holiday. The new calendar was to date from September 23,1792 being the date of the proclamation of the Republic. The convention exhibited hostility towards the traditional form of Christianity and made efforts to change it. Churches were transformed into temples of reason. An atheistic religion of reason was inaugurated in the Cathedral of Notre Dame at Paris in July 1794.