Bailly was a member of the petite bourgeoisie, and was originally an astronomer. He became politically active with his organisation of elections for Third Estate representatives for the Estates-General for the Paris districts. He blatantly disobeyed royal decree in this role, and permitted the election of 407 Third Estate deputies from the 60 Paris districts under his control. He himself was also elected a deputy, being the President of Third Estate deputies, as well as the Mayor of Paris.
However, he was implicated in the Champs de Mars Massacre, as he was the one who declared martial law, which led to several people being killed and it being the first instance of intra-revolutionary bloodshed. This destroyed his popularity and was the reason for his execution in 1793.
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