Alexandre de Beauharnais

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Alexandre de Beauharnais
Portrait by a painter of David's circle, c. 1793
President of the Constituent National Assembly
In office
19 June – 3 July 1791
Preceded byLuc Dauchy
Succeeded byCharles de Lameth
In office
31 July – 13 August 1791
Preceded byJacques Defermon des Chapelières
Succeeded byVictor de Broglie
Personal details
Born(1760-05-28)28 May 1760
Fort-Royal, Martinique, France
Died23 July 1794(1794-07-23) (aged 34)
Paris, France
Resting placePicpus Cemetery, Paris
ChildrenEugène de Beauharnais (son)
Hortense de Beauharnais (daughter)
Military service
Allegiance Kingdom of France
Kingdom of France
 First French Republic
Years of service1775–1794
RankGeneral of division
CommandsArmy of the Rhine
Battles/warsAmerican Revolutionary War
French Revolutionary Wars

Alexandre François Marie, Viscount of Beauharnais (28 May 1760 – 23 July 1794) was a French politician and general of the French Revolution. He was the first husband of Joséphine Tascher de La Pagerie, who later married Napoleon Bonaparte and became empress of France. Beauharnais was executed by guillotine during the Reign of Terror.


Beauharnais was born to the noble Beauharnais family in Fort-Royal (now Fort-de-France), Martinique, in the French West Indies. He was the son of Governor François de Beauharnais, Marquis de la La Ferté-Beauharnais, and Marie Anne Henriette Françoise Pyvart de Chastullé. On 13 December 1779 in Paris, he married Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, the future Empress of France. They had two children, Eugène (1781–1824) and Hortense (1783–1837).


Beauharnais began his military career in an infantry regiment at Martinique.[1] He served in the American Revolutionary War under the Count of Rochambeau, and became acquainted with the court of King Louis XVI upon his return to France.[1] A supporter of the French Revolution, Beauharnais was elected a deputy of the nobility to the Estates-General of 1789, where he was one of the first nobles to go over to the Third Estate, and voted in favor of the abolition of feudalism.[1]

Beauharnais played a prominent role in the succeeding National Constituent Assembly, serving as its president from 19 June to 3 July 1791 and from 31 July to 14 August 1791. He then returned to the army with the rank of colonel, and was employed in the Army of the North.[1] Promoted to general in 1792, at the start of the French Revolutionary Wars, Beauharnais refused in June 1793 the post of Minister of War.[1] He was appointed commander-in-chief of the Army of the Rhine in 1793.[1]


On 2 March 1794, the Committee of General Security ordered his arrest. Accused of having poorly defended Mainz during the siege in 1793, and considered an aristocratic suspect, he was jailed in Carmes Prison and sentenced to death during the Reign of Terror.[1] His wife, Joséphine, was jailed in the same prison on 21 April 1794 but was freed three months later, thanks to the fall of Maximilien Robespierre. Beauharnais was guillotined, together with his cousin Augustin, on the Place de la Révolution (today's Place de la Concorde) in Paris on 23 July 1794, five days before the end of the Reign of Terror.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Robert, Adolphe; Cougny, Gaston (1891). Dictionnaire des parlementaires français [Dictionary of French Parliamentarians] (in French). Paris. pp. 219–220.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)

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