Who Was Madame Roland?

Madame Roland was Marie-Jeanne Roland, an influential writer and political figure during the French Revolution. She was arrested when she refused to continue to back the revolutionaries she had originally supported because of their turn toward violent means to political ends. She wrote "Memoires," which was published posthumously, during her five months in prison. She was executed on November 8, 1793.

Madame Roland was married to Jean-Marie Roland de la Platiere. He was a philosopher and writer who was involved in local government. She began to act as a secretary for her husband, later taking on the role of co-author and even ghost writer, penning articles about politics and government for the newspaper Patriote Francaise.

The couple moved to Paris where Madame Roland owned a popular salon that hosted some of the most influential thinkers of the time, including the revolutionaries called Girondins. Her husband was eventually appointed Minister of the Interior under King Lous XVI. He was dismissed after sending a letter to the King, most likely written by Madame Roland, criticizing the veto of Girondist decrees. He left Paris and escaped the arrest and execution that the rest of the Girondists, and his wife, suffered. He committed suicide in 1793, soon after learning of the execution of Madame Roland.