Foreign Policy and the French Revolution: Charles-FranCois by Patricia Chastain Howe

By Patricia Chastain Howe

This research of the French Revolution unearths that from March 1792 to April 1793, French international coverage used to be ruled no longer by way of the leaders of the French progressive executive, yet by means of successive French overseas ministers, Charles-Francois Dumouriez and Pierre LeBrun.

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Nevertheless, van der Noot and van Eupen persisted in their unrealistic view, dramatically swearing on a crucifi x before the Belgian Congress that they would never deal with the Austrian emperor. 73 But time had run out. The following day Austrian troops in Luxembourg crossed the Meuse and poured into Belgium and Liège. The helpless citizens gave way without a struggle, their armies simply dissolving before the Austrian legions. Within fi fteen days, all of Belgium and Liège were reduced to submission.

28 Foreign Policy and the French Revolution Although at the time the Belgian provinces were under AustrianHapsburg rule, until the recent reign of Joseph II, Austrian sovereigns had followed a relatively laissez-faire policy toward them, respecting the traditional provincial charters and cooperating fully with local government. Unlike the liberalized culture of Liège, however, Belgian society was strictly hierarchical and was dominated by the wealthy clergy, nobility, and guilds. Nonetheless, the Belgians saw themselves as a free people with provincial autonomy and guaranteed rights committed to safeguarding Belgian autonomy against Hapsburg encroachment.

In the second pamphlet, Manifesto of the United Belgians and Liégeois in Paris, LeBrun presented a statement to be distributed at the proper time declaring that Liège and Belgium were to be united, arguing against divine-right monarchies and proclaiming that the ideology of the Belgian-Liégeois Republic must be a democratic one. The democratic ideas and many of the details of LeBrun’s third pamphlet, Essay on a Constitution to be Adopted by the United Belgian Provinces and Country of Liège, appear to prefigure the 1793 constitution of the French National Convention that would follow the Second French Revolution of 10 August 1792.

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