A Deputation of Women Citizens Demands Action on Food Prices (24 February 1793)

In the rioting over prices of February 1793, women appealed first to the authorities, showing that they intended to communicate directly with their representatives in the municipal government of Paris. By explicitly referring to themselves as "citizens," these women publicly claimed their right to be heard.


A DEPUTATION OF CITOYENNES AT THE COMMUNE, 24 February 1793

The Municipal Bureau, having received reports on the present state of subsistences in the city of Paris, and considering that emergency circumstances, need, and something of a rise in bread prices should call forth its full solicitude, orders administrators in the Department of Subsistence to take all measures which their wisdom and experience may suggest to provision the city of Paris so as to leave no pretexts from which our enemies can profit to disturb the public tranquility. The Municipal Bureau reserves for itself the responsibility of procuring the necessary funds so that payments for wheat and grain are not held up.

On the proposal of the Procurator of the Commune the municipal administration decrees that a proclamation be prepared for the citizens, urging them to fly to the defense of the Republic.

A large deputation of citoyennes appears before the municipal administration and asks for authorization to be introduced before the Convention to request a decrease in the price of foodstuffs and to denounce hoarders.

The mayor told this deputation that it need not request authorization to go the Convention; nevertheless, he requests that it [the deputation] return home quietly and rely on the solicitude of the people's magistrates who had already taken precautions in this domain by decreeing that an address would be presented in the National Convention to request a stringent law against hoarders. The citoyennes go away quietly.

Source: From Women in Revolutionary Paris, 1789–1795, edited and translated by Darline Gay Levy, Harriet Branson Applewhite, and Mary Durham Johnson. Copyright 1979 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Used with the permission of the University of Illinois Press, 125–126.