Prairial, Insurrection of

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Prairial, Insurrection of


a popular insurrection in Paris that took place on Prairial 1–4, Year III of the Republic (May 20–23, 1795). The revolt was directed against the counter-revolutionary policies of the Thermidorian Convention. The insurgents, who included the urban poor, workers, and artisans, demanded “bread and the Constitution of 1793.” Several battalions of the National Guard took part in the insurrection. The insurgents occupied the building of the Convention on May 20 and were joined by some of the remaining Jacobin representatives (the Summit). They issued decrees creating a four-man governing commission, freeing political prisoners, and ensuring the supply of bread to Paris.

However, they showed indecisiveness; they did not arrest the members of the governmental committees and allowed the Thermidorians to regroup their forces.

On the night of May 20, Thermidorian battalions forced their way into the Convention. However, the insurrection was not crushed until May 23, when the army was brought into the capital. The representatives of the Summit (also known as “the last of the Montagnards”) G. Romme, P. A. Soubrany, E. Duquesnoy, J.-M. Goujon, J.-M. Duroy, and P. Bourbotte were condemmed to death. They committed suicide after the verdict was proclaimed.


Tarle, E. V. Zherminal i prerial In Soch., vol. 6. Moscow, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.