Jean-Paul Rabaut Saint-Étienne

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Jean-Paul Rabaut Saint-Étienne (14 November 1743 – 5 December 1793) was a leader of the French Protestants and a moderate French revolutionary.

Jean-Paul Rabaut de Saint-Étienne
Jean-PaulRabautSaint-Etienne.jpg
Born 14 November 1743
Nîmes
Died 5 December 1793
Paris
Nationality French
Religion Calvinism

Biography[edit]

Rabaut de Saint-Étienne was born at Nîmes, countytown of Gard, the son of Paul Rabaut, the additional surname of Saint-Étienne taken from a small property near Nîmes.[1]

Like his father, he became a Calvinist pastor, and distinguished himself with his zeal for his co-religionists, becoming a spokesman for the Protestant community in France. He worked closely with Guillaume-Chrétien de Malesherbes, minister to Louis XVI and with members of the parlement of the Ancien Régime to obtain formal recognition of Protestant civil rights. This was despite the concerns of some Royal advisors.

Officially ending religious persecution in France, Louis XVI signed the Edict of Tolerance on 7 November 1787, and it was registered in parlement two-and-one-half months later (29 January 1788). This edict offered relief to all the major non-Catholic faiths of the time – Calvinist Huguenots, Lutherans, and Jews. After more than a century of prohibition, it gave them all civil and legal recognition as well as the right to openly form new congregations.

Full religious freedom had to wait two more years until the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789, but the 1787 Edict of Tolerance was a pivotal step in subduing religious strife and it officially ended religious persecution in France.[2]

Having gained a reputation with his Histoire primitive de la Grèce, he was elected deputy to the Estates-General of 1789 by the third estate of the bailliage of Nîmes.

In the Constituent Assembly, Rabaut de Saint-Étienne worked on the framing of the constitution; he spoke against the establishment of the Republic, which he considered ridiculous; and voted for the suspensive veto, as likely to strengthen the position of the Crown. In the Convention, he sat among the Girondists, opposed the trial of Louis XVI, was a member of the Commission of Twelve, and was proscribed with his party.

He remained in hiding for some time, but he was ultimately discovered and guillotined in December 1793.

References[edit]

References[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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