Clermont-Tonnerre, Count Stanislas De°

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CLERMONT-TONNERRE, COUNT STANISLAS DE°

CLERMONT-TONNERRE, COUNT STANISLAS DE ° (1757–1792), French revolutionary. Clermont-Tonnerre was an outspoken advocate of human liberties and of equal rights for the Jews and was active in the first stages of the French Revolution. In September 1789 the Constituent Assembly convened to discuss the Jewish question, prompted by Abbé H. *Grégoire, Clermont-Tonnerre, and several other deputies who were alarmed by news from Alsace, where the Jews had been attacked by peasants. Speaking after Abbé Grégoire, Clermont-Tonnerre demanded that the Jews be brought under the protection of the law. He further urged the Assembly to discuss the question of civic rights for the Jews, as a matter of principle. When the debate was resumed in December, he proclaimed that the rights of the Jews, of the Protestants, or of any other religious group had been implicitly recognized by the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which states that no man should be persecuted for his religion. To those who questioned whether the institutions of Jewish self-government should be maintained, Clermont-Tonnerre declared that "Jews should be denied everything as a nation, but granted everything as individuals…." His words epitomize the attitude of the 18th-century rationalists and French revolutionaries toward Judaism and the Jewish question.

bibliography:

L. Kahn, Les Juifs de Paris pendant la Révolution (1898), 32ff.; C. du Bus, Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnerre… (1931); R. Mahler, Divrei Yemei Yisra'el, Dorot Aḥaronim, 1 (1952), index.

[Emmanuel Beeri]