Mme. Roland(Marie-Jeanne Roland, 1754-93) is recognised as the only woman besides Marie-Anotinette to have exerted an undeniable influence on revolutionary politics. Mme. Roland accompanied Roland to Paris in February 1791 when he was sent on a political mission by the Lyon Commune. During the six months of this mission, Mme. Roland established her first political salon. In her salon some Girondists and other Jacobins, but as yet confounded under the common denomination of patriots, began to unite and form the nucleus of a great republian idea. It was in the salon that they compounded their opinion.
Roland became minister of interior in the Girondist government that was in power from March to June in 1792, and consequently Mme. Roland s salon became the social and political hub of the new government. During this first Roland ministry, Mme. Roland s influence was largely indirect, though she is generally credited with having an important part in preparing the letter by which Roland challenged Louis ⅩⅥ to accept the emergency war measures. During Roland s second term as minister of interior(August 10, 1792 - January 22, 1793), Mme. Roland s role became more open and direct. She had special interest in and influence over the Bureau d esprit Publique. This bureau proved a potent and dangerous political weapon and became a major focus of the rapidly growing radical opposition to the Rolands and their Girondist associates.
As the political struggle between Girondists and Montagnards approached its vortex, Mme. Roland was arrested on the night of May 31, 1793. From this time until November 8, when she was executed, Mme. Roland was imprisoned, principally in the Abbaye, writing her memoirs, a remarkable personal account of her life and beliefs. Apocryphal, perhaps, but characteristic and fitting was the remark she is claimed to have addressed to David s statue of Liberty as she approached the Guillotine: Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!