Monument Dedicated to the Exercise of Sovereignty of the People in Primary Assemblies


This design for a monument to popular sovereignty was produced by the French artist and designer Jean Jacques Lequeu (1757–1826) at the time of the French Revolution. After gaining a solid education as an architect and making a promising start to his career, Lequeu failed to channel his architectural and philosophical ideas into concrete projects that would ensure him fame. Lequeu was a man of his times in his faith in science and his religious eclecticism, but he was also a troubled visionary, known to be unorthodox and eccentric. He designed several projects that were inspired by the new revolutionary era, none of which he managed to complete. Lequeu’s semicircular design is dated, in the title above the design, June 24, 1793, and, in the lower right-hand corner, Messidor 9, Second Year of the Republic. In its efforts to eliminate traditional influences from French life, the French Revolution instituted a new calendar that featured a set of renamed months, divided into three ten-day weeks. “Messidor 9” refers to the ninth day of the month of Messidor, the first month of the summer, named after the Latin word messis, meaning harvest. Years were numbered starting with the proclamation of the French Republic in September 1792. Napoleon abolished this system and restored the Gregorian calendar with effect from January 1, 1806.

Last updated: January 8, 2018