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The Sister Republics (French language: républiques sœurs) were republican governments established by, or with the assistance, of the First French Republic during the French Revolutionary Wars. Ideals favored by the National Convention and Robespierre during the period were popular sovereignty, rule by law, and representative democracy. The republics also borrowed ideas from Whiggism and Enlightenment philosophers.

The French Republic supported the spread of republican principles in Europe, but most of these client republics, or sister republics, became a means of controlling the occupied lands through a mix of French and local control as client states. The institution of republican governments, promoting nationality over the rule of the royal families, primarily the Bourbons and Habsburgs, set the stage for the appearance of nationalist sentiment in Europe, which greatly influenced the course of European history (see 1830 and Revolutions of 1848). In the United States, Revolutionary Republicanism was, in part, based on the principles of limiting corruption and greed; which the revolutionaries saw as endemic in monarchy, but more readily preventable in a popular republic. Virtue was of the utmost importance for citizens and representatives. These revolutionaries took a lesson from ancient Rome; they knew it was necessary to avoid the luxury and vice that had destroyed the Empire.[1] A virtuous citizen was one that ignored monetary compensation and made a commitment to resist and eradicate corruption. The Republic was sacred; therefore it is necessary to served the state in a truly representative way, ignoring self-interest and individual will. Republicanism required the service of those who were willing to give up their own interests for a common good. According to Bernard Bailyn, "The preservation of liberty rested on the ability of the people to maintain effective checks on wielders of power and hence in the last analysis rested on the vigilance and moral stamina of the people." Virtuous citizens needed to be strong defenders of liberty and challenge the corruption and greed in government. The duty of the virtuous citizen become a foundation for the American Revolution.[2] The French Revolution looked in many ways to incorporate these American founding ideals, and to export them throughout the balance of Europe as well. However, most of these French client republics were quite short-lived; as the revolutionary republic became the Napoleonic Empire, they were often annexed to France proper or subsumed into more openly French puppet regimes.

French sister republics of Italy

France and sister republics in 1798.

  • Republic of Alba (1796–1801) annexed to the French Empire
  • Ligurian Republic (1796–1805) annexed to the French Empire
  • Italian Republic (1802–1805) transformed into the Kingdom of Italy
  • Republic of Brescia (1797)
  • Roman Republic (1798–1800)
    • Republic of Ancona (1797–1798) joined Roman Republic
    • Tiberina Republic (1798–1799) capital Perugia, joined Roman Republic
  • Lémanique Republic (1798) today Vaud canton
  • Etruscan Republic (1799)
  • Republic of Pescara (1799)
  • Parthenopaean Republic (1799) capital Naples
  • Subalpine Republic (1802) annexed to the French Empire

Other French sister republics

See also


  1. Gordon Wood, The Idea of America (2011) p. 325
  2. Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967)

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