The White Terror was a period during the French Revolution in 1795, when a wave of violent attacks swept across much of France. The victims of this violence were people identified as being associated with the Reign of Terror – followers of Robespierre and Marat, and members of local Jacobin clubs. The violence was perpetrated primarily by those whose relatives or associates had been victims of the Great Terror, or whose lives and livelihoods had been threatened by the government and its supporters before the Thermidorean Reaction. Principally these were, in Paris, the Muscadins, and in the countryside, monarchists, supporters of the Girondins, those who opposed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and those otherwise hostile to the Jacobin political agenda.The Great Terror had been largely an organised political programme, based on laws such as the Law of 22 Prairial, and enacted through official institutions such as the Revolutionary Tribunal, but the White Terror was essentially a series of uncoordinated attacks by local activists who shared common perspectives but no central organisation. In particular locations, there were however more organised counter-revolutionary movements such as the Companions of Jehu in Lyon and the Companions of the Sun in Provence. The name 'White Terror' derives from the white cockades worn in the hats of royalists.
The Reign of Terror ended on 9 Thermidor Year II (27 July 1794) when Robespierre and his associates were overthrown.However, there was not an immediate reaction to his rule, and for many months an unstable political climate prevailed before a new order emerged. In Paris, there were increasing attacks on sans-culottes by Muscadins, and there were attacks on Jacobins in Lyon and Nimes in February 1795. However, only when a number of conditions changed did anti-Jacobin forces feel sufficiently confident to escalate these attacks into a full-scale White Terror.
Politically, the Thermidorean Reaction did not remove from power all those who had been involved in the Reign of Terror – indeed some of the most feared Terrorists, including Jean-Baptiste Carrier and Joseph Fouché had been involved in overthrowing Robespierre, largely because they feared him calling them to account.It took a period of several months before all of the leading figures associated with the Reign of Terror were brought to trial or removed from power.
Economically, there were food shortages as a result of a hard winter in 1794–5 and the assignat currency collapsed. The harvest of 1794 was poor, particularly in the areas which supplied Paris and in many northern areas people were reduced to consuming seed during the winter. Further south, rivers remained iced over and roads remained impassable in the spring, hindering trade and raising local prices.The assignat fell from 31% of its face value in August 1794 to 24% in November, 17% in February and 8% in April 1795. In Paris, hunger and desperation led to the Germinal uprising of April 1795.
Militarily, the National Convention was fighting the Chouannerie rebellion in western France until December 1794.The Treaty of La Jaunaye which ended the rebellion allowed the return of non-juring priests The agreement ended the direct military emergency facing the Republic and weakened the standing of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.
The White Terror spread throughout the country, with some regions claiming not to have been disgraced by the Reign of Terror and others believing that there had to be significant retributions. Individuals accused as terrorists were then put on trial and executed. Overall, the severity of the reactions to the Reign of Terror were dependent on how each region was involved in the Revolution and on that region's specific history. Lists of those persecuted, as well as existing judicial and police records, indicate that a strong majority of accusations made did not arise from actions during the Reign of Terror at all but rather from personal or regional grudges.
In the history of France, the First Republic, officially the French Republic, was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times. This period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, and, finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power.
The Committee of Public Safety, created in April 1793 by the National Convention and then restructured in July 1793, formed the provisional government in France during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), a phase of the French Revolution. The Committee of Public Safety succeeded the previous Committee of General Defence and assumed its role of protecting the new republic against foreign attacks and internal rebellion. As a wartime measure, the committee was given broad supervisory powers over the armed forces, judiciary and legislature. It was formed as an administrative body to supervise and expedite the work of the executive bodies of the convention and of the government ministers appointed by the convention.
The Directory was the governing five-member committee in the French First Republic from 2 November 1795 until 9 November 1799, when it was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte in the Coup of 18 Brumaire and replaced by the Consulate. It gave its name to the final four years of the French Revolution. Mainstream historiography also uses the term in reference to the period from the dissolution of the National Convention on 26 October 1795 to Napoleon's coup d’état.
The Society of the Friends of the Constitution, after 1792 renamed Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality, commonly known as the Jacobin Club or simply the Jacobins, became the most influential political club during the French Revolution of 1789. The period of its political ascendancy includes the Reign of Terror, during which time well over ten thousand people were put on trial and executed in France, many for political crimes.
The National Convention was a parliament of the French Revolution, following the two-year National Constituent Assembly and the one-year Legislative Assembly. Created after the great insurrection of 10 August 1792, it was the first French government organized as a republic, abandoning the monarchy altogether. The Convention sat as a single-chamber assembly from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795.
The Thermidorian Reaction is the common term, in the historiography of the French Revolution, for the period between the ousting of Maximilien Robespierre on 9 Thermidor II, or 27 July 1794, to the inauguration of the French Directory on 1 November 1795. The "Thermidorian Reaction" was named after the month in which the coup took place, and was the latter part of the National Convention's rule of France. It was marked by the end of the Reign of Terror, decentralization of executive powers from the Committee of Public Safety, and a turn from the radical leftist policies of the Montagnard Convention to more conservative positions. Economic and general populism, dechristianization, and harsh wartime measures were largely abandoned, as the members of the Convention, disillusioned and frightened of the centralized government of the Terror, preferred a more stable political order that would have the approval of the affluent. The Reaction saw the Left suppressed by brutal force, including massacres, as well as the disbanding of the Jacobin Club, the dispersal of the sans-culottes, and the renunciation of the Montagnard ideology.
Jean-Lambert Tallien was a French political figure of the revolutionary period.
Jean-Baptiste Carrier was a French Revolutionary and most notable for his actions during the Reign of Terror in Vendée. While suppressing a Royalist counter-revolution, he commanded the execution of 4,000 civilians, mostly priests, women and children in what Carrier described as "the National Bathtub." After the fall of the Robespierre government, Carrier was tried for war crimes, found guilty and executed.
This is a glossary of the French Revolution. It generally does not explicate names of individual people or their political associations; those can be found in List of people associated with the French Revolution.
Georges Auguste Couthon was a French politician and lawyer known for his service as a deputy in the Legislative Assembly during the French Revolution. Couthon was elected to the Committee of Public Safety on 30 May 1793 and served as a close associate of Maximilien Robespierre and Louis Antoine de Saint-Just until his arrest and execution in 1794 during the period of the Reign of Terror. Couthon played an important role in the development of the Law of 22 Prairial, which was responsible for a sharp increase in the number of executions of accused counter-revolutionaries.
The Revolutionary Tribunal was a court instituted by the National Convention during the French Revolution for the trial of political offenders. It eventually became one of the most powerful engines of the Reign of Terror.
Marc-Guillaume Alexis Vadier was a French politician of the French Revolution.
Jean-Pierre-André Amar or Jean-Baptiste-André Amar was a French political figure of the Revolution and Freemason.
The insurrection of 1 Prairial Year III was a popular revolt in Paris on 20 May 1795 against the policies of the Thermidorian Convention. It was the last and one of the most remarkable and stubborn popular revolts of the French Revolution. After their defeat in Prairial, the sans-culottes ceased to play any effective part until the next round of revolutions in the early nineteenth century. To a lesser extent, these movements are also important in that they mark the final attempt of the remnants of the Mountain and the Jacobins to recapture their political ascendancy in the Convention and the Paris Sections; this time, though they gave some political direction to the popular movement which arose in the first place in protest against worsening economic conditions, their intervention was timorous and halfhearted and doomed the movement to failure.
The Clichy Club was a political group active during the French Revolution from 1794 to 1797.
The Federalist revolts were uprisings that broke out in various parts of France in the summer of 1793, during the French Revolution. They were prompted by resentments in France's provincial cities about increasing centralisation of power in Paris, and increasing radicalisation of political authority in the hands of the Jacobins. In most of the country the trigger for uprising was the exclusion of the Girondins from the Convention after the Insurrection of 31 May – 2 June 1793. Although they shared common origins and political objectives, the revolts were not centrally organised or well-coordinated. The revolts failed to win any sustained popular support and were put down by the armies of the Convention over the following months. The Reign of Terror was then imposed across France to punish those associated with them and to enforce Jacobin ideology.
The insurrection of 12 Germinal Year III was a popular revolt in Paris on 1 April 1795 against the policies of the Thermidorian Convention. It was provoked by poverty and hunger resulting from the abandonment of the controlled economy after dismantling of the Revolutionary Government during Thermidorian Reaction.
François Sébastien Christophe Delaporte,, , was a politician at the time of the French Revolution.