Edmond Dubois-Crancé

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Edmond Dubois-Crancé

Edmond Louis Alexis Dubois-Crancé (born October 24, 1746 in Charleville in the Ardennes department , † June 29, 1814 in Rethel in the Ardennes department) was a French politician and general during the French Revolution and in 1799 the last war minister of the Board of Directors .


Edmond Louis Alexis Dubois-Crancé was born the son of a wealthy civil servant who had risen to the noblesse de robe . From 1762 to 1775 he served in a company of royal musketeers and from 1776 as a sous-lieutenant in the royal bodyguard .

Dubois-Crancé was elected from the third estate of the electoral district of Vitry-le-François on March 21, 1789 as a member of the Estates General (États généraux). He took part in the Ballhaus oath on June 20, 1789 and was then on the left in the Constituent Assembly . Dubois-Crancé has served on several committees and was involved in the finance committee for a comprehensive reform of the tax system. In the military committee he played a key role in the reorganization of the army. The army of the Ancien Régime , which only enabled nobles to pursue an officer career and in which many foreign mercenaries served, was to be gradually replaced by a national guard, in which any French citizen could join. On December 12, 1789, Dubois-Crancé proposed to the members of the Constituent Assembly to introduce universal conscription . However, this was refused. He also called for freedom for every slave who stepped on French soil or lived in the French colonies.

After the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in September 1791, Dubois-Crancé was to be appointed Maréchal de camp . He renounced this dignity because he did not want to submit to La Fayette's orders . Instead, Dubois-Crancé preferred to take up active military service as a simple grenadier . In September 1792, his home department Ardennes elected him to the national convention . He was a supporter of the Montagne and was a member of the Defense Committee. In January 1793 he voted for the death of Louis XVI. He had previously been appointed to the General Defense Committee on January 4th .

Dubois-Crancé reorganized the army from the beginning of 1793. From February 21 to March 7, 1793 he was President of the National Convention. On the first day of his presidency, he passed the "Amalgam Act," which contained his ideas for redesigning the army. Dubois-Crancé was one of the first to recognize that the greatest weakness of the French army was its separation into regiments of the line of the former royal army and volunteer battalions. The line soldiers were obliged to serve for several years, while the volunteers were only drafted for one campaign. They were subject to a less rigorous discipline, received higher wages and chose their officers themselves. Because of these differences, there were frequent, even bloody, arguments between the "whites" and "blues", named after the color of their uniform trousers . The expansion of the war made it necessary to eliminate these differences and thereby increase the army's fighting power. Dubois-Crancé proposed to the National Convention on February 7, 1793, to "merge" a line regiment, two volunteer battalions and an artillery company into a half-brigade (French: amalgamer). In addition, the soldiers should wear uniform uniforms. The “law on the amalgam” remained controversial, the Montagne supported it, the majority of Girondists rejected it. It wasn't until early 1796 that the law caught on across the army.

Edmond Louis Alexis Dubois-Crancé had been a member of the Welfare Committee since April 6, 1793 , and in August 1793 he left the Alpine Army as a “representative in mission” . He was supposed to support General Kellermann in the siege of rebellious Lyon. Due to his lack of harshness towards the / m political opponent (s) Dubois-Crancé was recalled on October 6, 1793, three days before the fall of Lyons, and then had to justify himself to the welfare committee. He was able to do this, because in November 1793 he was promoted to division general . In February 1794 he went to western France with the aim of enforcing the "Amalgam Act" . Since March 1794 there have been trials in France in which political opponents, together with thieves, stolen goods or murderers, were charged with "conspiracy against the French people" and convicted. Dubois-Crancé rejected these so-called "amalgam processes" . He distanced himself from the politicians of the welfare committee, moved closer to the supporters of the " indulgent " and supported the overthrow of Thermidor II (July 27, 1794).

Dubois-Crancé was a member of the Council of Five Hundred from October 1795 to May 1797 and served as Inspector General of the Rhine Army in 1798/99 . From 14 September 1799 until the coup d'état of 18th Brumaire VIII (9/10 November 1799), which he rejected, Dubois-Crancé headed the Ministry of War. His opposition to the consulate's regime led to his retirement in March 1800. The staunch Republican Dubois-Crancé then withdrew from public life.


  • Bernd Jeschonnek: Revolution in France 1789–1799. A lexicon. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-05-000801-6 .