My watch list  

François-Vincent Raspail

  François-Vincent Raspail (January 25 1794 - January 71878) was a French chemist, physiologist, and socialist.

Raspail was born in Carpentras, Vaucluse. A member of the republican Carbonari society, Raspail was imprisoned during Louis Philippe's reign (1830-1848) and was a candidate for presidency of the Second Republic in December 1848. However, he was then involved in the attempted revolt of May 15, 1848, and in March 1849 was again imprisoned as a result. After Louis Napoleon's December 2, 1851 coup, his sentence was commuted to exile, from which he returned to France only in 1862. In 1869, during the liberal phase of the Second Empire (1851-1870), he was elected deputy from Lyon. He remained a popular republican during the French Third Republic, after the short-term Paris Commune in 1871.


Scientific achievements

Raspail was one of the founders of the cell theory in biology. He coined the phrase omnis cellula e cellula ("every cell is derived from a [preexisting] cell") later attributed to Rudolf Karl Virchow. He was an early proponent of the use of the microscope in the study of plants. He was also an early advocate of the use of antisepsis and better sanitation and diet.

Entry into politics

After the revolution of 1830, Raspail became involved in politics. He was President of the Human Rights Society, and was imprisoned for that role. While in prison, he tended sick inmates, and studied their diseases. He became convinced of the value of camphor, which he believed worked by killing extremely small parasites -- a version of the germ theory of disease.

Later career

Raspail was a candidate for the Presidency of the French Second Republic in December of 1848, but came in fourth, losing to Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (Later Napoleon III). He had been involved in the attempted revolt of 15 May 1848, and in March of 1849 was again imprisoned as a result. In 1853, Napoleon III commuted his sentence of imprisonment to one of exile. He returned to France from exile in 1862. In 1869 he was elected deputy from Lyon. He remained popular and respected during the French Third Republic. The longest boulevard in Paris, in the VIIe, VIe and XIVe arrondissements, was named in his honor.


  • Essai de chimie microscopique 1830
  • Nouveau système de chimie organique 1833
  • Manuel annuaire de la santé 1834, revisued annually
  • Lettres sur les Prisons du Paris 1839
  • Histoire naturelle de la santé 1843
  • Le Réformateur (newspaper, published 1834-35)

For further reading

  • Raspail: Scientist and Reformer by Dora B. Weiner (Columbia University Press, 1968)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "François-Vincent_Raspail". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE