Skip to main content

Malesherbes, Chretien Guillaume de La-Moignon de°


MALESHERBES, CHRETIEN GUILLAUME DE LA-MOIGNON DE ° (1721–1794), liberal French statesman. As minister of the Maison du Roi in 1787, he was responsible with Turgot for the decree granting civic status to "non-Catholics," thus opening the way for effective action by the Jews on their own behalf. Malesherbes' main reason for wanting improved treatment of the Jews was his belief that it would lead to their conversion; he was opposed to the organized Jewish community, considering it as a state within a state. Jewish individuals were not free to convert, said Malesherbes, because they were so closely tied to the whole community. He therefore proposed that Jews be enabled to use public legal registers for their personal status, thus weakening their ties with Jewry. In spring 1788 Malesherbes set up an informal committee to study the question, coopting as advisers men well-disposed toward the Jews, including Pierre Louis *Roederer. Eight Jewish leaders were summoned to the committee, among them *Cerfberr for Alsace, Berr Isaac *Berr for Lorraine, Abraham *Furtado and D. Gradis for Bordeaux. The purpose of the committee was to conduct a preliminary inquiry on a new system for regulating the condition of French Jewry, and to prepare a memorandum. However, meetings were few and the differences between the two delegations, the "Portuguese" and the "German," were so marked that they could not reach agreement. The "Portuguese" memorandum in answer to Malesherbes' questionnaire on the current state of Judaism was later to influence the one presented by Napoleon's representatives to the *Assembly of Jewish Notables and the French *Sanhedrin. In July 1788 the delegates returned home, without having come to any decision. Malesherbes remained a staunch royalist and was later guillotined.


Szajkowski, in: Zion, 18 (1953), 31–79; idem, in: paajr, 25 (1956), 119–35; idem, in: jqr, 49 (1958), 63–75; A. Hertzberg, The French Enlightenment and the Jews (1968), 323–6; P. Grosclaude, Malesherbestémoin et interprète de son temps (1961), 631– 49.

[Simon R. Schwarzfuchs]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Malesherbes, Chretien Guillaume de La-Moignon de°." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 19 Apr. 2019 <>.

"Malesherbes, Chretien Guillaume de La-Moignon de°." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (April 19, 2019).

"Malesherbes, Chretien Guillaume de La-Moignon de°." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved April 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.