05.02.

1807: Pasquale Paoli – President of what was the Most Progressive State in Europe

Paoli
Photo Credit To https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/Paoli.png

Pasquale Paoli, one of the most interesting politicians of the 18th century, died on this day in 1807.

Namely, Paoli was the founder and president of the first republic in Europe which received a constitution based on democracy and Enlightenment ideals. The republic in question was the Corsican Republic, a state which existed from 1755 until 1769 on the island of Corsica. Paoli was also important for his influence on the young Napoleon Bonaparte who was, of course, a Corsican.

According to the year of his birth, Paoli was a peer of the famous Giacomo Casanova. Paoli was born in Corsica at a time when the island still belonged to Genoa. The Corsicans rebelled against Genoese rule and declared their independence in 1755. Paoli became the president of the newly-declared republic.

The Corsicans made one of the most progressive constitutions in the world at that time. That 1765 constitution was written over two decades before the much more famous U.S. Constitution. In order to get a better idea of how progressive it was, let us mention that it granted women suffrage, the first one to do so in early modern Europe.

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