Girondists


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Related to Girondists: Girondins, Robespierre

Girondists

(jĭrŏn`dĭsts) or

Girondins

(zhērôNdăN`), political group of moderate republicans in the French RevolutionFrench Revolution,
political upheaval of world importance in France that began in 1789. Origins of the Revolution

Historians disagree in evaluating the factors that brought about the Revolution.
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, so called because the central members were deputies of the Gironde dept. Girondist leaders advocated continental war. Led at first by Jacques Brissot de WarvilleBrissot de Warville, Jacques Pierre
, 1754–93, French revolutionary and journalist. He began his career by writing numerous pamphlets and books. His Théorie des lois criminelles (1781) was a plea for penal reform.
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, the Girondists were known as Brissotins. Notable members were Pierre VergniaudVergniaud, Pierre Victurnien
, 1753–93, French revolutionary. A brilliant lawyer, he gained attention (1790) when defending peasants who had burned a castle. Elected a deputy to the legislative assembly from the Gironde, he was a leader of the Girondists and was one of the
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, Charles DumouriezDumouriez, Charles François
, 1739–1823, French general in the French Revolutionary Wars. After fighting in the Seven Years War, he was employed by King Louis XV on several secret missions.
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, and Jean Marie Roland de la PlatièreRoland de la Platière, Jean Marie
, 1734–93, French revolutionary. An inspector general of commerce at Rouen and Amiens, he went to Paris in 1791 and published the Financier patriote.
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 and Jeanne Manon Roland de la PlatièreRoland de la Platière, Jeanne Manon Philipon
(Mme Roland) , 1754–93, French revolutionary. Imbued with classical ideals and with the philosophy of Rousseau, she made her house the intellectual center of the Girondists, and her influence on Girondist policy was great.
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. Representative of the educated, provincial middle class of the provinces, they were lawyers, journalists, and merchants who desired a constitutional government. Early in 1792 they succeeded, against Maximillien RobespierreRobespierre, Maximilien Marie Isidore
, 1758–94, one of the leading figures of the French Revolution. Early Life

A poor youth, he was enabled to study law in Paris through a scholarship.
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's opposition, in having war declared on Austria. In the Revolutionary assembly, the Convention, they engaged in personal rivalry against Robespierre, Georges DantonDanton, Georges Jacques
, 1759–94, French statesman, one of the leading figures of the French Revolution. A Parisian lawyer, he became a leader of the Cordeliers early in the Revolution and gained popular favor through his powerful oratory.
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, and Jean Paul MaratMarat, Jean Paul
, 1743–93, French revolutionary, b. Switzerland. He studied medicine in England, acquired some repute as a doctor in London and Paris, and wrote scientific and medical works (some in English), but was frustrated in his attempts to win official recognition
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. The Girondists championed the provinces against Paris, and in particular against the commune. They were unable to prevent the trial of King Louis XVI, or his death sentence. The leftist MountainMountain, the,
in French history, the label applied to deputies sitting on the raised left benches in the National Convention during the French Revolution. Members of the faction, known as Montagnards [Mountain Men] saw themselves as the embodiment of national unity.
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 became dominant in the Convention. The treason of Dumouriez, who defected to the Austrians (Mar., 1793), further weakened the position of the Girdondists, who also aroused popular hostility in Paris by opposing workers' demands for economic controls. On May 31 an armed crowd organized by the Paris sections surrounded the Convention and demanded the arrest of the Girondists. The Convention at first resisted, but continued popular pressure forced it to order the arrest of 29 girdondists on June 2. Brissot, Vergniaud, and other leaders were subsequently executed. The fall of the Girondists assured complete control by the Mountain.

Bibliography

See studies by M. J. Sydenham (1961) and A. Patrick (1972).

References in periodicals archive ?
As Coleman notes, by dropping a line from Hutson's review of History of the Girondists, he garbles the end of the final sentence of Peck's speech to Carlton in chapter 6 ("Though man has no rights, as thus considered, undoubtedly he has the power, by such arbitrary rules of right and wrong as his necessity enforces") and by skipping the opening of a sentence in Purvis's Tribute near the conclusion of chapter 21, he produces a sentence whose anaphoric expansions lead nowhere ("Who can think of the broken hearts made whole, of sad and dejected countenances now beaming with contentment and joy, of the mother offering her free-born babe to heaven, and of the father whose cup of joy seems overflowing in the presence of his friends, where none can molest or make him afraid").