1792 French National Convention election

Legislative elections were held in France at the end of August and in September 1792 to elect deputies to the National Convention.[1] Primary elections to elect members of electoral colleges were held in August,[2] with the electoral colleges subsequently voting from 2 to 19 September.[3] The elections established the nation's first government without the monarch, Louis XVI. On 20 September the Convention gathered for the first time.

1792 French National Convention election

← 1791 August 1792 (primary elections)
September 1792 (electoral colleges)
1795 →

All 749 seats in the National Convention
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Lazare Carnot Maximilien Robespierre Jacques Pierre Brissot
Party Marais Montagnard Girondins

President of the Assembly before election

Pierre-Joseph Cambon

Subsequent President of the Convention

Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve

From 26 August the candidates were elected by an electoral college; royalist and Girondin candidates were boycotted.[1] On the same day news reached Paris that the Prussian army had occupied Longwy. On 28 August the assembly ordered a curfew for the next two days. The city gates were closed; all communication with the country was stopped. On 29 August the Prussians attacked Verdun. When this news arrived it escalated panic in the capital; the situation was highly critical.[4] In the afternoon of 2 September the September Massacres began.[5]

The electoral colleges voted from 2 to 19 September and lasted three weeks. To be an elector a citizen had to be over 21, resident one year in his department and not a domestic servant. An elector could stand as a candidate in any constituency. To be a delegate or a deputy an elector had to be over 25. If at the first ballot no candidate received an absolute majority of votes cast, there was to be a second ballot at which only the top two candidates of the first could compete.[6]



According to Malcolm Crook "Evidence of orchestrated attempts to intimidate rivals is not hard to find."[7][8]



Around 3,360,000 voters participated in the elections.[9] An absolute majority of the male deputies elected belonged to the Marais party, a political faction of vague but largely moderate policies. Although it is often stated that the Marais won around 389 seats, the leftist Montagnards led by Maximilien Robespierre won around 200 seats and the more moderate Girondin faction led by Jacques Pierre Brissot around 160 seats, there was no clear delineation of political affiliation and seat totals cannot be considered to be hard facts.[10] Around 136 of the elected legislators joined the Jacobin club.[10]



The Convention met for the first time on 21 September.[10] Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve of the Girondins was elected President of the Convention, while Girondins secured most of the posts in the secretariat.[10] However, the elections preceded the fall of the Girondins as a political faction, mainly because of the political and social unrest following the war started by the Girondin-dominated government in the spring of 1792.


  1. ^ a b Crook, Malcolm (7 March 1996). Elections in the French Revolution: An Apprenticeship in Democracy, 1789-1799. Cambridge University Press. pp. 94–96. ISBN 978-0-521-45191-8. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  2. ^ Crook, 95
  3. ^ Assemblée électorale de Paris 2 septembre, p. XVI
  4. ^ L. Madelin, Chapter XXI, p. 252
  5. ^ Charavay, Étienne (1905). Assemblée électorale de Piemel Paris 2 septembre 1792-17 frimaire an II (in French). D. Jouaust. p. xvi. OCLC 764234804.
  6. ^ Cole, Alistair; Campbell, Peter (1989). French electoral systems and elections since 1789. Gower. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-0-566-05696-3.
  7. ^ Crook, Malcolm (7 March 1996). Elections in the French Revolution: An Apprenticeship in Democracy, 1789-1799. Cambridge University Press. pp. 94–96. ISBN 978-0-521-45191-8. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  8. ^ Edelstein, Professor Melvin (28 May 2014). The French Revolution and the Birth of Electoral Democracy. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 266, 273. ISBN 978-1-4724-0699-6. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  9. ^ Dupuy, Roger (25 March 2014). République jacobine - Terreur, guerre et gouvernement révolutionnaire 1792-1794. Nouvelle histoire d (in French). Éditions Points. pp. 35–40. ISBN 978-2-7578-3937-9. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d Ian Davidson (2016). The French Revolution: From Enlightenment to Tyranny. Profile Books. pp. xiv–xv. ISBN 978-1-84765-936-1.