Marat's Science

AN online companion

Read REVIEWS of Jean Paul Marat: Tribune of the French Revolution

Read supplementary chapters about Marat's work in science.

For more information about Jean Paul Marat: Scientist and Revolutionary, click [HERE].

JEAN Paul Marat:
Tribune of the
French Revolution

(Look at the Table of Contents)

Jean Paul Marat was an iconic figure of the French Revolution. But before he was a revolutionary, he was a medical doctor and a scientist.

Jean Paul Marat was the best-known radical journalist of the French Revolution, but his revolutionary career occupied only the last four years of his fifty-year life. Before 1789, Marat spent almost thirty years as a successful physician and as an experimental physicist, investigating the properties of heat, light, and electricity.

Historians hostile to Marat’s revolutionary persona have for two centuries propagated the claim that his science was worthless—that he had been nothing more than a quack doctor and a charlatan scientist. That is not true. The evidence presented on this website establishes that Marat was, in the context of eighteenth-century medical and scientific practice, a legitimate physician and physicist.

I have written two biographies of Marat. The earlier one—Jean Paul Marat: Scientist and Revolutionary—discussed his medical and scientific careers in depth, but the more recent one—Jean Paul Marat: Tribune of the French Revolution—is briefer and focuses solely on his activities during the Revolution.

This website supplements the latter biography with detailed accounts of Marat’s scientific endeavors.

--Clifford D. Conner

JEAN Paul Marat:
Tribune of the
French Revolution

"Cliff Conner's biography is a fresh, welcome look at one of the most complex and fascinating figures of the French Revolution. Marat's tumultuous career has many echoes for our own time, among them raising the question: are human rights merely legal and political, or are they economic as well?" —Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost and Bury the Chains

"This short biography, written in an accessible and lively style, presents an activist and journalist from the French Revolution, and rescues him from myths and slanders. It stresses his passion for equality and his defence of the poorest classes in society, drawing out the originality and continuing relevance of an often neglected figure." —Ian Birchall, author of The Spectre of Babeuf

"Cliff Conner's gracefully written and wisely observed biography of Jean Paul Marat tells the truth about this much maligned doctor and hero of the French revolution. Marat's advocacy for and leadership of the Parisian poor is reminiscent of another doctor turned revolutionary, Che Guevara, both timeless symbols in the ongoing struggle for social justice." —Michael Ratner and Michael Steven Smith, human rights attorneys and authors of Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder. Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"Cliff Conner’s retelling of Marat’s life first clears away the cobwebs and prejudices and then reveals why we should love and admire this egalitarian revolutionary. Marat was the “Friend of the People” in the 1790s, and still has a message for us today about social, political, and economic equality. ¡Vive Marat!" —Lynne Stewart