Jacobin Club

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Jacobin Club


a political club during the French Revolution. The club’s predecessor was the Breton Club, which was founded in Versailles in June 1789 by a group of deputies to the Estates General from the Third Estate of Brittany. The Breton Club was soon joined by many Third Estate deputies from other provinces and by some deputies of the nobility (liberal noblemen turned bourgeois). Having moved to Paris in October 1789, the Breton Club was reconstituted as the Society of Friends of the Constitution; it came to be known as the Jacobin Club after its meeting place—the former library of the Jacobin monks (as the members of the Dominican Order were called in France).

Membership in the Jacobin Club was not restricted to the Constituent Assembly’s deputies, but the relatively high dues kept out the poor strata of society. The Jacobin Club included the most prominent political figures and members of legislative and governmental institutions. It had a wide network of branches in the provinces.

The club’s political orientation and membership became more democratic as the revolution surged ahead. The original members of the Jacobin Club were united in their opposition to the feudal absolutist system, but the most influential among them were the constitutional monarchists and representatives of the moderate big bourgeoisie and liberal nobility. In the spring of 1790 the most conservative members of the club, such as E. J. Sieyés, H. G. Mirabeau, and M. J. La Fayette, formed a small group known as the Society of 1789 while retaining formal membership in the Jacobin Club. The first split in the Jacobin Club took place on July 16, 1791—a time of acute political crisis for the country. The constitutional monarchists left the club and founded the Feuillant Club. The Jacobin Club fell under the influence of the more radical bourgeois members who sided with J. P. Brissot (the future Girondins).

After the overthrow of the monarchy on Aug. 10, 1792, the strong rift within the Jacobin Club divided its members into the Girondins, who sought to impede the forward march of the revolution, and the Jacobins, led by M. de Robespierre. The second split in the Jacobin Club, in October 1792, ended with the expulsion of Brissot and the subsequent secession of the other Girondins. Thereafter the club was led by bourgeois revolutionary democrats. During the Jacobin dictatorship, the Jacobin Club was the main center where government policy was formulated. During the period of intense struggle between the various Jacobin currents, the club remained the focus of support of Robespierre’s followers. After the Thermidorian coup of July 27–28, 1794, the Jacobin Club was closed by decree of the Convention on Nov. 12, 1794.


References in periodicals archive ?
Brissot's expulsion from the Jacobin Club on 10 October 1792, might have been avoided if had he deigned to appear to answer his critics, as he was requested to do.
She hosted a salon for the Brissotins, she attended the debates of the National Assembly, the Jacobin club, and the Cercle Social.(12) She was also a regular contributor to Brissot's Patriote Francais.(13)
The first period was composed of two segments; the initial arrests began on 19 June 1792, when, at the urging of the local Jacobin club, 270 refractory priests (those who refused to take the oath to the constitution) from throughout the Department were arrested for the "safety of the public." (12) The minutes of the club are lost, but the motivation for its demand was most likely the Legislative Assembly's decree of 27 May, which provided for the deportation of all refractory priests.
He appeared on the first recorded membership list of the Jacobin club, December 1790.
The key event was the defection of the National Guard to the moderates, who at once closed the Jacobin Club. Soon Toulon joined Marseilles in openly rejecting decrees from the Committee of Public Safety in Paris and declaring that institution null and void.
That same summer of 1792, Thomas Cooper (newly returned from Paris) wrote of the Jacobin Club: `The King of France is alive, and chooses his Ministers from among the Members of this very Society'.
The gilded storm troopers on numerous occasions burst into the Jacobin Club shouting "Long live the Convention" and "Down with Jacobin tyranny." In the alleys outside the dub they beat up latecomers with canes and sticks.
Unlike Gueniffey, Edelstein finds little evidence of electoral manipulation by the Jacobin clubs or fraud by returning officers.
In Morley's view, Jacobin democracy has had a strong presence in America since the founding era when Jacobin Clubs sympathetic to revolutionary France were organized throughout the states.
Kennedy, The Jacobin Clubs in the French Revolution, 1793-1795 (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books 2000)
Explanations for the Terror inevitably involve some consideration of the Jacobin Clubs. Jacobin ideology, and its relationship to the Terror, is the subject of this stimulating book by Patrice Higonnet.