Manon Jeanne Phlipon born on March 17, 1754 - November 8, 1793, became the wife of Jean Marie Roland and is better known simply as Madame Roland. Both she and her husband were famous figures of the French Revolution.
In the early days of their marriage, Madame Roland wrote political articles for the Courrier de Lyon. When the couple moved to Paris, she began to take an even more active role. Her salon became the rendezvous of Brissot, Pétion, Robespierre and other leaders of the popular movement, and especially Buzot, whom she loved with platonic enthusiasm. In person Madame Roland is said to have been attractive but not beautiful; her ideas were clear and far-reaching, her manner calm, and her power of observation extremely acute. It was almost inevitable that she should find herself in the centre of political aspirations and presiding over a company of the most talented men of progress. The rupture between the Girondist party and that section still more extreme, that of the Mountain, had not yet occurred. For a time the whole left united in forcing the resignation of the ministers.
However, after Roland had made a stand against the worst excesses of the Revolution, the couple became very unpopular. Once Madame Roland appeared personally in the Assembly to repel the falsehoods of an accuser, and her ease and dignity evoked enthusiasm and compelled acquittal. But violence succeeded violence, and early on the morning of June 1 1793 she was arrested and thrown into the prison of the Abbaye. Her husband escaped to Rouen. Released for an hour from the Abbaye, she was again arrested and placed in Sainte-Pelagie. Finally, she was transferred to the Conciergerie. In prison she was respected by the guards, and was allowed the privilege of writing materials and occasional visits from devoted friends. There she wrote her Appel à l'impartiale postérité, those memoirs which display a strange alternation between self-laudation and patriotism, between the trivial and the sublime.
On November 8, 1793, she was conveyed to the guillotine. Before placing her head on the block, she bowed before the clay statue of Liberty in the Place de la Révolution, uttering the famous remark for which she is remembered - "O Liberty! what crimes are committed in thy name!"