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The Sister Republics (French: républiques sœurs) were republican governments established, or assisted, by the First French Republic during the French Revolutionary Wars. Ideals favored by the National Convention and Robespierre during the period were popular sovereignty, rule by law, and representative democracy. The republicans also borrowed ideas and values from Whiggism and Enlightenment philosophers.
The French Republic supported the spread of republican principles in Europe, but most of these client republics (or sister republics) became a means of controlling the occupied lands through a mix of French and local power as client states. The institution of republican governments, primarily the Bourbons and Habsburgs, promoted nationality over the rule of the royal families and set the stage for the appearance of nationalist sentiment in Europe, which greatly influenced the course of European history (see 1830 and Revolutions of 1848).
In the United States, Revolutionary Republicanism was, in part, based on the principles of limiting corruption and greed, which the revolutionaries saw as endemic in monarchy, but more readily preventable in a popular republic. Virtue was of the utmost importance for citizens and representatives. These revolutionaries took a lesson from ancient Rome: they knew it was necessary to avoid the luxury and vice that had destroyed the Empire. A genuinely virtuous citizen was one that ignored monetary compensation and made a commitment to resist and eradicate corruption. The Republic was sacred; therefore, it was necessary to serve the state in a truly representative way, ignoring self-interest and individual will.
Republicanism required the service of those who were willing to give up their own interests for a common good. According to Bernard Bailyn, "The preservation of liberty rested on the ability of the people to maintain effective checks on wielders of power and hence in the last analysis rested on the vigilance and moral stamina of the people." Virtuous citizens needed to be strong defenders of liberty and challenge the corruption and greed in government. The duty of the virtuous citizen become a foundation for the American Revolution. The French Revolution looked in many ways to incorporate these American founding ideals and to export them throughout the balance of Europe as well. However, most of these French client republics were quite short-lived. As the revolutionary republic became the Napoleonic Empire, they were often annexed to France proper or subsumed into more openly French puppet regimes.
French sister republics of Italy
- Republic of Alba (1796–1801) annexed to the French Empire
- Ligurian Republic (1796–1805) annexed to the French Empire
- Italian Republic (1802–1805) transformed into the Kingdom of Italy
- Cisalpine Republic (1797–1802) transformed into the Italian Republic
- Republic of Brescia (1797)
- Roman Republic (1798–1800)
- Lémanique Republic (1798) today Canton of Vaud
- Etruscan Republic (1799)
- Republic of Pescara (1799)
- Parthenopaean Republic (1799) capital Naples
- Subalpine Republic (1802) annexed to the French Empire
Other French sister republics
- Republic of Bouillon (1794–1795)
- Republic of Rauracia (Raurakische Republik/Republique Rauracienne) revolutionary French republic in Basel (1792–1793)
- Republic of Mainz revolutionary French republic in Rheinhessen and Pfalz (1793)
- Batavian Republic (1795–1806) Netherlands
- Cisrhenian Republic (1797) Germany
- Republic of Connacht (1798) accompanying Humbert's Irish expedition in support of the Irish Rebellion of 1798
- Helvetic Republic (1798–1803) Switzerland
- Republic of Danzig (1807–1815)
- Illyrian Republic (1809)
- Gordon Wood, The Idea of America (2011) p. 325
- Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967)