Marie-Anne assets” (Famous Scientists). During May of 1794,

Marie-Anne Paulze Lavoisier, who lives in distress in the midst of the French Revolution -five years after it began- because of her husband’s and father’s death sentences. The French Revolution, beginning in 1789, threatened the security of scientists and “many other philosophically minded administrators” (Arthur L. Donovan), as they looked upon it  as an “opportunity to rationalize and improve the nation’s politics and economy” (Arthur L. Donovan). Additionally, the couple did not abscond when “popular anger turned against those who had exercised power and enjoyed social privileges in the old regime” (Arthur L. Donovan), and Antoine maintained counselling the revolutionary governments on finance. Antoine did not succumb his will to save the Academy of Sciences in Paris when leaders began reigning and making decisions based on terror (Donovan). Lavoisier argued that its “members were loyal and indispensable servants of the state” (Donovan), however shortly he and several of his colleagues from the General Farm were imprisoned. Antoine was looked upon as notorious because he had “supported foreign scientists, whom the revolutionaries wished to strip of their assets” (Famous Scientists). During May of 1794, twenty-six General Farm members were guillotined. Imagine the pain and sadness brought upon their families, children, and friends. On  May eighth of 1794, Marie’s husband and father, Jacques, were guillotined- causing Marie severe pain. The heartbreaking story of poor Marie-Anne Paulze began when she lost her mother at the age of merely thirteen, and according to “Torch & Crucible: The Life and Death of Antoine Lavoisier”, she was a child in years but a woman in her physicality and mental capabilities at the time. After her mother’s death, Marie’s “wit, charm, and gentleness won for her a warm place in the hearts of guest and servant alike”, as stated by Sidney J. French. Antoine Lavoisier, who “purchased an interest in a financial enterprise known as the General Farm” (Arthur L. Donovan, Britannica), which had the duty of, for instance, “collecting certain sales and excise taxes, such as those on salt and tobacco” (Arthur L. Donovan) for the royal government. Here Antoine worked with Marie Paulze’s father, Jacques. When Antoine Lavoisier first connected with Jacques’ daughter, he was more than double her age, and he supposedly “forgot the child and saw the woman” behind her (Torch & Crucible: The Life and Death of Antoine Lavoisier). Shortly, the two found themselves conversing about his chemical experiments, laboratory, and theories about fossils and his geological explorations (Torch & Crucible: The Life and Death of Antoine Lavoisier). Antoine had spent more time on his studies rather than romance, and Jacques would not object to the marriage if the topic might arise and become of interest, as Antoine’s heritage was in a financially stable position, and he also admired his young colleague. French, in her book, means that “both houses had sprung from the soil; both were reared to the traditions of refinement and honor”, and Jacques was the type of man that would not force his daughter to give her hand in marriage to gain wealth or a position. However, the fifty year old Comte D’ Amerval had fixated his eyes on the young Marie, now fourteen, and there was no doubt that he was esurient on making her his wife. The marriage, if it would occur, would “elevate the descendants of the house of Paulze to the aristocracy, open up doors now closed, and pave the way for attendance at court”, as well as bring Marie into the opulent noble house of D’ Amerval. The Count, or Comte, was classified as unsightly and decadent according to French, and his intended countess would eventually be left widowed. In order to shun the Count, Marie would no longer have to prevail as a bachelorette, and the Count had threatened Jacques “with dismissal from the tax company if she did not say yes”, according to ‘Famous Scientists’. Taking the name of “Lavoisier” for Marie meant marrying a commoner, and rejecting moving up in status to become a countess, and for Antoine, the union “was not, as some historians would have it, a marriage for money; his bride’s dowry in its entirety was but small compared to his own wealth” (French). Marie, who kept laboratory notes, prepared drawings for papers, and sketched laboratory apparatus, and she was supposedly “quick, efficient and intelligent”, according to French. Marie was even “being tutored in chemistry by one of Lavoisier’s collaborators”, as stated by Arthur L. Donovan for Britannica, and through this, she became one of chemistry’s first female researchers. She also helped critique and translate scientific papers from English into French for her husband, as expressed by Catharine Haines in her book “International Women in Science a Biographical Dictionary to 1950”. During Antione’s lifetime, he discovered the role of oxygen in combustion, or the process of burning something (hereby disproving and opposing the Phlogiston theory). Antoine “renamed the ‘dephlogisticated air’ oxygen when he realized that the oxygen was the part of air that combines with substances as they burn”, according to Columbia University. He also helped construct the metric system, and wrote the first extensive list of elements. Lavoisier also named and recognized hydrogen and oxygen in his life. He shall be honored through all of his work and studies by having a statue made, that almost resurrects him, which will be placed by the Louvre in Paris. In this way, Antoine Lavoisier will always be remembered for all the good he brought into the world; not only from saving young Marie from an unhappy marriage with a much older man, but also bettering our knowledge of the world as we know it today. Thank you, Antoine.


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