Marie Jeanne Roland de la Platiere

On this date in 1754, revolutionary Marie Jeanne Roland de la Platiere was born in France as Manon Jeanne Philipon. Reading by the age of four, she read so widely of Rationalists that she lost her faith. An ardent admirer of Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau, she gave up her early ambition to join a convent and rejected Roman Catholicism. Marie Jeanne married fellow rationalist Jean Marie Roland de la Platiere in 1780 . When they moved to Paris their home became a hub of the Girondists of the Revolution, and she became the famed "Mme. Roland." She wrote political articles for such journals as Courrier de Lyon. When the Rolands spoke out against the excesses of the Revolution, Robespierre had her imprisoned. During her 5-month detention, she penned her Memoirs and tried to assist prisoners at the jail for prostitutes where she had been placed. Upon glimpsing a statue embodying "liberty" at her execution site, Mme. Roland famously said: "O Liberte, que de crimes on commet en ton nom!" ("O Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name.") Her husband, who had evaded arrest, committed suicide upon hearing of her death. D. 1793.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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