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Database: Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin

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ACU Joseph-Ignace Guillotin

Dr. Guillotin was a leading light in French medicine who did not, in fact, invent the guillotine. He earned immense popular among Parisians for his early support of a vote by headcount at the Estates-General. In addition, he was a philanthropist who petitioned for the same death sentence for all, regardless of social class. Along with Dr. Antoine Louis, he sought to improve a machine first devised by harpsichord maker Tobias Schmidt which would lop the victim's head off painlessly. No more swords, no more breaking wheels, no more hands of clumsy executioners. He fell afoul of the Committee of Public Safety late in the Revolution and spent a month in prison, but escaped a final reunion with his invention. He resumed his scientific activities and worked in support of vaccination: to save lives.

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