Feuillant (political group)

Last updated
Feuillants Club
Club des Feuillants
President Antoine Barnave
Alexandre de Lameth
Adrien Duport
Founded 18 June 1791;227 years ago (1791-06-18)
Dissolved10 August 1792;226 years ago (1792-08-10)
Merger of Moderatism Jacobins
Monarchiens
Headquarters Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris
Newspaper La Gazette
Ideology Moderatism
Constitutional monarchism
Political position Centre [1]
Colours     Blue      White
(monarchy's colours)

The Society of the Friends of the Constitution [2] (French : Société des Amis de la Constitution), better known as Feuillants Club (French pronunciation:  [fœjɑ̃] French : Club des Feuillants), was a political grouping that emerged during the French Revolution. [3] It came into existence on 16 July 1791 [3] when the left-wing Jacobins split between moderates (Feuillants), who sought to preserve the position of the king and supported the proposed plan of the National Constituent Assembly for a constitutional monarchy; and radicals (Jacobins), who wished to press for a continuation of direct democratic action to overthrow Louis XVI. It represented the last and most vigorous attempt of the moderate constitutional monarchists to steer the course of the revolution away from the radical Jacobins. [4]

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

A political faction is a group of individuals within a larger entity, such as a political party, a trade union or other group, or simply a political climate, united by a particular common political purpose that differs in some respect to the rest of the entity. A faction or political party may include fragmented sub-factions, "parties within a party," which may be referred to as power blocs, or voting blocs. Members of factions band together as a way of achieving these goals and advancing their agenda and position within an organisation.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Contents

The Feuillant deputies publicly split with the Jacobins when they published a pamphlet on 16 July 1791, protesting the Jacobin plan to participate in the popular demonstrations against Louis XVI on the Champ de Mars the following day. Initially the group had 264 ex-Jacobin deputies as members, including most of the members of the correspondence committee.

Champ de Mars large public green space in Paris, France

The Champ de Mars is a large public greenspace in Paris, France, located in the seventh arrondissement, between the Eiffel Tower to the northwest and the École Militaire to the southeast. The park is named after the Campus Martius in Rome, a tribute to the Latin name of the Roman God of war. The name also alludes to the fact that the lawns here were formerly used as drilling and marching grounds by the French military.

The group held meetings in a former monastery of the Feuillant monks on the Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris and came to be popularly called the Club des Feuillants. They called themselves the Amis de la Constitution. The group was led by Antoine Barnave, Alexandre de Lameth and Adrien Duport.

Congregation of the Feuillants

The Feuillants were a Catholic congregation originating in the 1570s as a reform group within the Cistercians in its namesake Les Feuillants Abbey in France, which declared itself an independent order.

Antoine Barnave French politician

Antoine Pierre Joseph Marie Barnave was a French politician, and, together with Honoré Mirabeau, one of the most influential orators of the early part of the French Revolution. He is most notable for correspondence with Marie Antoinette in an attempt to set up a constitutional monarchy and for being one of the founding members of the Feuillants.

Alexandre-Théodore-Victor, comte de Lameth French soldier and politician

Alexandre-Théodore-Victor, comte de Lameth was a French soldier and politician.

History

As the Constitution of 1791 began to take its final shape, many erstwhile radical deputies such as Barnave and Le Chapelier wished for the central role played by such popular societies as the Jacobins early in the French Revolution to come to an end. The activism of the people had been vital to the preservation of the Revolution in the early days of the National Assembly, but their purpose had been fulfilled and it was time for direct democracy to give way to the leadership of elected representatives. This conviction was greatly affirmed with the Champ de Mars Massacre (17 July 1791).

French Constitution of 1791 constitution

The short-lived French Constitution of 1791 was the first written constitution in France, created after the collapse of the absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime. One of the basic precepts of the revolution was adopting constitutionality and establishing popular sovereignty.

Isaac René Guy le Chapelier French politician

Isaac René Guy Le Chapelier was a French jurist and politician of the Revolutionary period.

National Assembly (French Revolution) assembly during the French Revolution

During the French Revolution, the National Assembly, which existed from 14 June 1789 to 9 July 1789, was a revolutionary assembly formed by the representatives of the Third Estate of the Estates-General; thereafter it was known as the National Constituent Assembly, though popularly the shorter form persisted.

Within days, a mass exodus of moderate deputies abandoned the Jacobin club in favour of a new organisation, the Feuillant club. This new society would wage a struggle throughout the summer with the Jacobins for the allegiance of the provincial affiliates and the Parisian crowds, a contest they would ultimately lose. According to the Feuillant ethos, popular societies could have no other role than as meetings of friends to hold private political discussions—their meetings should never step across the threshold of their assemblies and evolve into concerted public political action.

In his capacity as chairman of the Constitutional Committee, Le Chapelier presented to the National Assembly in its final sessions a law restricting the rights of popular societies to undertake concerted political action, including the right to correspond with one another. It passed 30 September 1791 and by the virtue of obeying this law the moderate Feuillants embraced obsolescence. By ignoring it, the radical Jacobins emerged as the most vital political force of the French Revolution.

In the wave of revulsion against popular movements that followed the Champ de Mars Massacre, through his activity on the Committee of Revisions (charged with separating out the constitutional decrees from the ordinary legislation of the National Assembly) Barnave was able to ingratiate himself and his allies to Louis XVI by securing for the Crown such powers as appointments of ambassadors, army commanders and ministers. The king returned the favour by taking Barnave as his chief advisor. At the opening of the Legislative Assembly, Louis XVI delivered a speech written by Barnave and for the next six months France was governed by what was known as the Feuillant Ministry.

In March 1792, in retaliation for their opposition to war with Austria the Feuillant ministers were forced out by the Girondins. Labelled by their opponents as royalists, they were targeted after the fall of the monarchy. In August 1792, a list of 841 members was published [3] and they were arrested and tried for treason. Barnave was guillotined on 29 November 1793.

The Girondins, Girondists or Gironde were members of a loosely knit political faction during the French Revolution.

The name survived for a few months as an insulting label for moderates, royalists and aristocrats.

Ideology and views

The Feuillant party was formed to protect a conception of power. Its goals were to neutralize royalists by gaining the support of the moderate right, to isolate the democrats from the majority of patriotic deputies, to withstand Jacobin influences and to terminate societies that threatened the nation's independence of the National Assembly. [5] As a result, the Feuillants were attacked from both the left and the right. [4]

The Feuillant group was against passive citizens being enlisted in the National Guard. They believed the only way to have a strong army was for it to be structured. "By favoring elimination of “passive citizens" from the National Guard (27 April 1791), remaining silent during the debate on the right to petition and post bills, opposing the political emancipation of the blacks (11–15 May 1791), the triumvirs exhausted their popularity within the space of a few months". The group knew if the political emancipation of blacks was passed, the main source of France's income would be lost. The sugar fields in Saint-Domingue would be taken over and land would also be lost. [5]

Electoral results

Legislative Assembly
Election yearNo. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats won
+/–Leader
1791 1,505,000 (2nd)35.4
264 / 745
Antoine Barnave

See also

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References

  1. Israel, Jonathan (2014). Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre. Princeton University Press. p. 222.
  2. It was the original name of the Jacobin Club until his radicalization of Republic's birth.
  3. 1 2 3 Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Feuillants, Club of the". Encyclopædia Britannica . 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 304.
  4. 1 2 Israel, Jonathan (2014). Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre. Princeton University Press. pp. 204–207.
  5. 1 2 Furet and Ozouf, A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution. (1989) pp 343–350.
Bibliography