History Of The Girondists Quotes

"O Liberty! Liberty! How Many Crimes Are Committed In Thy Name!"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: During the French Revolution (1789-1799) Madame Roland was one of the prominent leaders of the Girondists, the moderate republican party so named because early members were mostly deputies from the Department of Gironde. She was an idealist–a fierce hater of the aristocracy, but a lover of the common man and a worshiper of Liberty, being strongly imbued with the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In 1793 the Girondists were expelled from the Convention by the extremists, the Jacobins and the Cordeliers; and their leaders, Madame Roland among them, were summarily tried and sent to the guillotine. Madame Roland showed great courage both at her trial and at her execution. Upon hearing her sentence, she rose and said, "I thank you for considering me worthy to share the fate of the good and great men you have murdered!" Clad in a white robe to symbolize her innocence, and with her long black hair unbound, she rode in a cart to her execution, accompanied only by a wretched old man. As an act of kindness, she permitted the old man to be executed first, and then, ascending the scaffold, she bowed to the statue of Liberty nearby and exclaimed,

"O Liberty! Liberty! how many crimes are committed in thy name!"