Republican calendar

Article

January 21, 2022

The republican calendar, or French revolutionary calendar, is a calendar created during the French Revolution and used during the First Republic and then the Empire until 1806, as well as briefly during the Paris Commune. It begins on 1 Vendémiaire Year I (September 22, 1792), the day after the proclamation of the abolition of the monarchy and the birth of the Republic, declared the first day of the "era of the French", but does not come into force than 15 Vendémiaire Year II (October 6, 1793). Like the metric system, started in 1790, this calendar marks the will of the revolutionaries to adopt, in replacement of the Gregorian calendar, a universal system based on the decimal system, which is no longer linked to the monarchy or Christianity. In addition to the change of era (renumbering of the years), it includes a new division of the year, and new names for the months and the days. The year of the Republican calendar is divided into twelve months of thirty days each (i.e. 360 days), plus five additional days added at the end of the year in common years, or six in sextile years. The adopted rule sets the beginning of the year at midnight, counted in real time from the Paris Observatory, which precedes the moment when the autumnal equinox falls at the meridian of Paris. Astronomers were responsible for determining this day and a decree then stopped the beginning of the year. Thus, strictly speaking, the duration of the Republican year results from observation, and therefore this unfinished calendar is not stricto sensu predictable. In particular, it makes it possible to do away with the many non-working holidays of the Ancien Régime, and to replace the Sunday rest day with a ten-day rest day, which is not without consequences for economic activity (like the Le Chapelier law which in 1791 prohibited corporations and any association of workers).

Creation and repeal

On the morning of September 21, 1792, the National Convention met first at the Tuileries Palace in Paris, then moved to the Salle du Manège, the place where the Legislative Assembly met. The deputies unanimously approve Abbé Grégoire's bill "The National Convention decrees that royalty is abolished in France", to prolonged cheers of joy from the public and cries of Vive la Nation! This vote comes on the eve of the third anniversary of the adoption of the first article of the 1789 Constitution “The French government is monarchical; there is no authority in France superior to the law; the King reigns only through it; and it is only by virtue of the Laws that he can demand obedience”. The next day, during the morning session, the Convention decreed that all public acts from September 22 would henceforth bear the date of the first year of the French Republic. It turns out that this day was also the day of the autumnal equinox for the Paris Observatory. Taking advantage of this chance, the revolutionaries later associated this event with the beginning of the Republican era.

Creation

Firstfruits

From the beginning of the Revolution, the day after July 14, the newspapers, having the intuition that an upheaval was taking place, called this year 1789 the year I of Liberty. The old computus could no longer govern the new times. In a letter to M. de Lalande published on May 17, 1790 in the Gazette Nationale or Le Moniteur Universel, we can read: “When Julius Caesar completed the destruction of Roman freedom, when he accepted the perpetual dictatorship and had himself named emperor, his the first care, as if to mark this disastrous period, was to reform the calendar. The moment when France has just been regenerated...isn't it even more favorable to propose such a change...It is

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