Wives of convention members : A political issue in the republic ?
This article will examine the roles of wives in the context of the French Revolution and, more specifically, the National Convention. By studying the place occupied by the wives of deputies in the particularly exciting and tumultuous political life of the Convention era, it is not merely a question of looking at the people close to the elected representatives, but also of problematising the concept of the place that these women were able to occupy on their own account. The idea is not to examine them from the point of view of their dependency, but to study how some of them were able to assume the equality that had been claimed and was in the process of being acquired by married women and develop their own political initiative. These political actions in the public arena by the "wife of", which I will examine here by looking at the example of Adélaïde Guéritault, wife of the Conventionmember for the Vienne, François Piorry, permits an understand of the way that that an individualistic social reading of the revolutionaries combines with the long-term weight of the family tradition, the bearer of inter-dependence and joint social responsibility which, for a long time, was to curb any form of political expression on the part of the “wives of”.