Manifesto of the Enragés

Jacques Roux, a former priest turned radical revolutionary, became the leading voice for a group known as the "Enraged," because they expressed constant anger at the unfairness shown toward the ordinary, poor people who made up the bulk of the patriotic citizenry and whose plight Roux demanded the government redress by any means necessary. In this speech to the Convention on 25 June 1793, Roux laid out the basic economic demands of this group: more stringent economic measures against the rich, hoarders, speculators, and profiteers, who should be made to justify themselves to the hard–working, honest patriots for whom Roux claimed to speak. Here Roux explains his understanding of equality and trade.


Freedom is but an empty illusion when one class of men can starve another with impunity. Equality is but an empty illusion when the rich, through monopolies, have the decision of life or death over their own kind. The Republic is but an empty illusion when the counterrevolution takes place daily because three-quarters of the citizenry cannot afford the price of basic foodstuffs and no one sheds a tear.

Stopping trade which is nothing short of highway robbery must be clearly distinguished from simple commerce. It will only be by placing the cost of food within reach of the sans-culottes that you will win them over to Revolution and its constitutional laws.

Source: Jacques Roux, Scripta et acta, edited by Walter M. Markov (Berlin: Akademie-Verl., 1969), 140–46. Translated by Exploring the French Revolution project staff from original documents in French found in John Hardman, French Revolution Documents 179295, vol. 2 (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1973), 136.