EMMANUEL JOSEPH SIEYèS (3 May 1748 – 20 June 1836), most commonly
known as the ABBé SIEYèS (French: ), was a French Roman Catholic
_abbé _, clergyman and political writer. He was one of the chief
political theorists of the
French Revolution , and also played a
prominent role in the
French Consulate and
First French Empire
* 1 Early life * 2 Education * 3 Religious career
* 4 _What Is the Third Estate?_
* 4.1 Impact on the Revolution
* 5 Assemblies, Convention, and the Terror
* 6 Directory
* 7 Second Consul of
Sieyès was born on 3 May 1748 as the fifth child of Honoré and
Annabelle Sieyès in the town of
Fréjus in southern France. His
father was a local tax collector who made a humble income, and while
the family had some noble blood, they were commoners. His earliest
education came by way of tutors and of the
Sieyès spent ten years at the seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. There, he studied theology and engineering to prepare himself to enter the priesthood. He quickly gained a reputation at the school for his aptitude and interest in the sciences, combined with his obsession over the "new philosophic principles" and dislike for conventional theology. Sieyès was educated for priesthood in the Catholic Church at the Sorbonne . While there, he became influenced by the teachings of John Locke , Condillac , Quesnay , Mirabeau , Turgot , the Encyclopédistes , and other Enlightenment political thinkers, all in preference to theology. In 1770, he obtained his first theology diploma, ranking at the bottom of the list of passing candidates – a reflection of his antipathy toward his religious education. In 1772, he was ordained as a priest, and two years later he obtained his theology license.
Bust of Sieyès by David d\'Angers (1838).
Despite Sieyès' embrace of Enlightenment thinking, he was ordained
to the priesthood in 1773. In spite of this, he was not hired
immediately. He spent this time researching philosophy and developing
music until about a year later in October 1774 when, as the result of
demands by powerful friends, he was promised a canonry in
While remaining in ecclesiastical offices, Sieyès maintained a religious cynicism at odds with his position. By the time he took his orders to enter priesthood, Sieyès had "freed himself from all superstitious sentiments and ideas." Even when corresponding with his deeply religious father, Sieyès showed a severe lack of piety for the man in charge of the diocese of Chartres. It is theorised that Sieyès accepted a religious career not because he had any sort of strong religious inclination, but because he considered it the only means to advance his career as a political writer.
_WHAT IS THE THIRD ESTATE?_
Louis XVI of France proposed the convocation of the
This phrase, which was to remain famous, is said to have been inspired by Nicolas Chamfort . The pamphlet was very successful, and its author, despite his clerical vocation (which made him part of the First Estate ), was elected as the last (the twentieth) of the deputies to the Third Estate from Paris to the Estates-General. He played his main role in the opening years of the Revolution, drafting the _ Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen _, expanding on the theories of national sovereignty , popular sovereignty , and representation implied in his pamphlet, with a distinction between active and passive citizens that justified suffrage limited to male owners of property.
Sieyès's pamphlet incited a radical reaction from its audience
because it involved the "political issues of the day and twisted them
in a more revolutionary direction". In the third chapter of the
pamphlet, Sieyès proposed that the Third Estate wanted to be
"something". But he also stated that, in allowing the privileged
orders to exist, they are asking to become "the least thing possible".
The usage of such rhetoric in his pamphlet appealed to common causes
to unite the audience. At the same time it influenced them to move
beyond simple demands and take a more radical position on the nature
of government. In this case, the radical position taken by the Third
Estate created a sense of awareness that the problems of
IMPACT ON THE REVOLUTION
Sieyès's pamphlet played a key role in shaping the currents of
revolutionary thought that propelled
Whereas the aristocracy defined themselves as an élite ruling class
charged with maintaining the social order in France, Sieyès saw the
third estate as the primary mechanism of public service. Expression of
radical thought at its best, the pamphlet placed sovereignty not in
the hands of aristocrats but instead defined the nation of
Sieyès's pamphlet had a significant influence on the structural concerns that arose surrounding the convocation of the Estates general. Specifically, the third estate demanded that the number of deputies for their order be equal to that of the two privileged orders combined, and most controversially "that the States General Vote, Not by Orders, but by Heads". The pamphlet took these issues to the masses and their partial appeasement was met with revolutionary reaction. By addressing the issues of representation directly, Sieyès inspired resentment and agitation that united the third estate against the feudalistic traditions of the Ancien Régime. As a result, the Third Estate demanded the reorganization of the Estates General, but the two other orders proved unable or unwilling to provide a solution. Sieyès proposed that the members of the First and Second order join the Third Estate and become a united body to represent the nation as a whole. He not only suggested an invitation, however, but also stated that the Third Estate had the right to consider those who denied this invitation to be in default of their national responsibility. The Third Estate adopted this measure on 5 June 1789; by doing so, they assumed the authority to represent the nation. This radical action was confirmed when they decided to change the name of the Estates General to the National Assembly, indicating that the separation of orders no longer existed.
ASSEMBLIES, CONVENTION, AND THE TERROR
Although not noted as a public speaker (he spoke rarely and briefly),
Sieyès held major political influence, and he recommended the
decision of the Estates to reunite its chamber as the National
Assembly , although he opposed the abolition of tithes and the
confiscation of Church lands. His opposition to the abolition of
tithes discredited him in the National Assembly, and he was never able
to regain his authority. Elected to the special committee on the
constitution , he opposed the right of "_absolute veto_" for the King
Like all other members of the Constituent Assembly, he was excluded
from the Legislative Assembly by the ordinance, initially proposed by
Ultimately, Sieyès failed to establish the kind of bourgeois revolution he had hoped for, one of representative order "devoted to the peaceful pursuit of material comfort." His initial purpose was to instigate change in a more passive way, and to establish a constitutional monarchy. According to William Sewell, Sieyès' pamphlet set "the tone and direction of The French Revolution…but its author could hardly control the Revolution's course over the long run". Even after 1791, when the monarchy seemed to many to be doomed, Sieyès "continued to assert his belief in the monarchy", which indicated he did not intend for the Revolution to take the course it did. During the period he served in the National Assembly, Sieyès wanted to establish a constitution that would guarantee the rights of French men and would uphold equality under the law as the social goal of the Revolution; he was ultimately unable to accomplish his goal.
After the execution of Robespierre in 1794, Sieyès reemerged as an
important political player during the constitutional debates that
followed. In 1795, he went on a diplomatic mission to
The Hague , and
was instrumental in drawing up a treaty between the French and
Batavian republics. He resented the Constitution of the Year III
enacted by the Directory , and refused to serve as a Director of the
Republic. In May 1798, he went as the plenipotentiary of
Nevertheless, Sieyès considered ways to overthrow the Directory, and
is said to have taken in view the replacement of the government with
unlikely rulers such as
Archduke Charles of Austria
SECOND CONSUL OF FRANCE
The death of Joubert at the
Battle of Novi
Corps législatif appointed Bonaparte, Sieyès, and Roger Ducos as "Consuls of the French Republic". In order to once again begin the function of government, these three men took the oath of "Inviolable fidelity to the sovereignty of the people; to the French Republic, one and indivisible; to equality, liberty and the representative system." Although Sieyès had many ideas, a lot of them were disfavored by Bonaparte and Roger-Ducos. One aspect that was agreed upon was the structure of power. A list of active citizens formed the basis of the proposed political structure. This list was to choose one-tenth of its members to form a communal list eligible for local office; from the communal list, one-tenth of its members were to form a departmental list; finally, one further list was made up from one-tenth of the members of the departmental list to create the national list. This national list is where the highest officials of the land were to be chosen.
Sieyès envisioned a _Tribunat_ and a _College des Conservateurs_ to act as the shell of the national government. The _Tribunat_ would present laws and discuss ratification of these laws in front of a jury. This jury would not have any say in terms of what the laws granted consist of, rather whether or not these laws passed. The _College des Conservateurs_ would be renewed from the national list. The main responsibility of the _College des Conservateurs_ was to choose the members of the two legislative bodies, and protect the constitution by right of absorption. By this curious provision, the _College_ could forcibly elect to its ranks any individual deemed dangerous to the safety of the state, who would then be disqualified from any other office. This was a way to keep a closer eye on anyone who threatened the state. The power of the _College des Conservateurs_ was extended to electing the titular head of government, the _Grand-Electeur_. The _Grand-Electeur_ would hold office for life but have no power. If the _Grand-Electeur_ threatened to become dangerous, the _College des Conservateurs_ would absorb him. The central idea of Sieyès' plan was a division of power.
NAPOLEONIC ERA AND FINAL YEARS
Sieyès soon retired from the post of provisional Consul, which he
had accepted after 18 Brumaire, and became one of the first members of
Sénat conservateur (acting as its president in 1799); this
concession was attributed to the large estate at Crosne that he
received from Napoleon. After the plot of the Rue Saint-Nicaise in
late December 1800, Sieyès defended the arbitrary and illegal
During the era of the First Empire (1804–1814), Sieyès rarely
emerged from his retirement. When
CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIAL SCIENCES
In 1795, Sieyès became one of the first members of what would become the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of the Institute of France. When the Académie Française was reorganized in 1803, he was elected in the second class, replacing, in chair 31, Jean Sylvain Bailly , who had been guillotined on 12 November 1793 during the Reign of Terror. However, after the second Restoration in 1815, Sieyès was expelled for his role in the execution of King Louis XVI, and was replaced by the Marquis of Lally-Tollendal , who was named to the Academy by a royal decree.
In 1780, Sieyès coined the term _sociologie_ in an unpublished
manuscript. The term was used again fifty years later by the
Sieyès was always considered intellectual and intelligent by his
peers and mentors alike. Through the virtue of his own thoughts, he
progressed in his ideologies from personal experiences. Starting at a
young age, he began to feel repulsion towards the privileges of the
nobility. He deemed this advantage gained by noble right as unfair to
those of the lower class. This distaste he felt for the privileged
class became evident during his time at the Estates of
Aside from his opinions towards nobility, Sieyes also had a passion for music. He devoted himself assiduously to cultivating music as he had plenty of spare time. Along with cultivating music, Sieyes also enjoyed writing reflections concerning these pieces. Sieyès had a collection of musical pieces he called "_la catologue de ma petite musique_."
Although Sieyès was passionate about his ideologies, he had a rather uninvolved social life. His journals and papers held much information about his studies but almost nothing pertaining to his personal life. His associates referred to him as cold and vain. In particular, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord remarked that "Men are in his eyes chess-pieces to be moved, they occupy his mind but say nothing to his heart."
* _Biography portal
* ^ Sometimes hyphenated to Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Jean-Claude Guilhaumou (2006). « Sieyès et le non-dit
de la sociologie : du mot à la chose ». _Revue d'histoire des
sciences humaines_. No.15.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Van Deusen, Glyndon G., p. 11
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Van Deusen, Glyndon G., p. 12
* ^ William H. Sewell Jr. (1994). _A Rhetoric of Bourgeois
Revolution: The Abbe Sieyes and What is the Third Estate?_. Durham and
London: Duke University Press. p. 9.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Van Deusen, Glyndon G., p. 13
* ^ William H. Sewell Jr., _A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution The
Abbe Sieyes and What is the Third Estate?_ p. 14.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Van Deusen, Glyndon G., p. 15
* ^ William H. Sewell Jr., _A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution The
* Baczko, Bronislaw. "the social contract of the French: Sieyès and
Rousseau." _Journal of Modern History_ (1988): S98–S125. in JSTOR
* Fauré, Christine. "Representative Government or Republic? Sieyès
on Good Government." in _The Ashgate Research Companion to the
Politics of Democratization in Europe: Concepts and Histories_ (2008)
* Furet, Francois, and Mona Ozouf, eds. _A Critical Dictionary of
the French Revolution_ (1989) pp. 313–23
* Hibbert, Christopher (1982). _The Days of the French Revolution_.
New York: William Morrow.
* _ This article incorporates text from a publication now in the
public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sieyès,
Emmanuel-Joseph". Encyclopædia Britannica _. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge
* Meng, John J. Review of: _Sieyès His Life and His Nationalism_ by
Glyndon G. Van Deusen. _The Catholic Historical Review_, Vol 19, No. 2
(July 1933). JSTOR. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
* Sewell, Jr., William H (1994). _A rhetoric of bourgeois revolution
* Sieyès, Comte Emmanuel Joseph, M. Blondel, and Samuel Edward Finer, eds. _What is the Third Estate?_ London: Pall Mall Press, 1963.
_ Wikiquote has quotations related to: EMMANUEL JOSEPH SIEYèS _