François Magendie was born on October 6, 1783, in Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France to the family of Antoine Magendie, a surgeon, and Marie Nicole de Perey. He had a younger brother, Jean-Jacques, whose name testifies to the admiration their father, an ardent republican, had for the ideas of Rousseau. The two boys were brought up in accord with Rousseau’s pedagogical precepts: the emphasis was on their personal independence and not the instruction they received. In 1791, swept along by the Revolution, the Magendie family moved to Paris, where the father devoted himself more to politics than to medicine. The death of his mother in 1792 and his father’s activities on Revolutionary committees threw Magendie still further upon his own intellectual resources.