Jacobin (politics)

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A Jacobin (French pronunciation:  [ʒakɔbɛ̃] ) was a member of the Jacobin Club, a revolutionary political movement that was the most famous political club during the French Revolution (1789–99). [1] The club was so called because of the Dominican convent in Paris in the Rue Saint-Jacques (Latin: Jacobus) where they originally met.

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.

Dominican Order Roman Catholic religious order

The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, is a mendicant Catholic religious order founded by the Spanish priest Dominic of Caleruega in France, approved by Pope Honorius III via the Papal bull Religiosam vitam on 22 December 1216. Members of the order, who are referred to as Dominicans, generally carry the letters OP after their names, standing for Ordinis Praedicatorum, meaning of the Order of Preachers. Membership in the order includes friars, nuns, active sisters, and affiliated lay or secular Dominicans.

Rue Saint-Jacques, Paris street in Paris, France

The Rue Saint-Jacques is a street in the Latin Quarter of Paris which lies along the cardo of Roman Lutetia. The Boulevard Saint-Michel, driven through this old quarter of Paris by Baron Haussmann, relegated the roughly parallel rue Saint-Jacques to a backstreet, but it was a main axial road of medieval Paris, as the buildings that still front it attest. It was the starting point for pilgrims leaving Paris to make their way along the chemin de St-Jacques that led eventually to Santiago de Compostela. The Paris base of the Dominican Order was established in 1218 under the leadership of Pierre Seila in the Chapelle Saint-Jacques, close to the Porte Saint-Jacques, on this street; this is why the Dominicans were called Jacobins in Paris. Thus the street's name is indirectly responsible for the Jacobin Club in the French Revolution getting that name .Johann Heynlin and Guillaume Fichet established the first printing press in France, briefly at the Sorbonne and then on this street, in the 1470s. The second printers in Paris were Peter Kayser and Johann Stohl at the sign of the Soleil d'Or in the Rue Saint-Jacques, from 1473. The proximity of the Sorbonne led many later booksellers and printers to set up shop here also.

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Today, the terms Jacobin and Jacobinism are used in a variety of senses. In France, Jacobin now generally indicates a supporter of a centralized republican state and strong central government powers [2] and/or supporters of extensive government intervention to transform society. Jacobin is sometimes used in Britain as a pejorative for radical, left-wing revolutionary politics (English: /ˈækəbɪn/ ), especially when it exhibits dogmatism and violent repression. [3]

The term "Radical" during the late 18th-century and early 19th-century identified proponents of democratic reform, in what subsequently became the parliamentary Radical Movement.

Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. It typically involves a concern for those in society whom its adherents perceive as disadvantaged relative to others (prioritarianism) as well as a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished. The term left-wing can also refer to "the radical, reforming, or socialist section of a political party or system".

In the French Revolution

The Jacobin Club was one of several organizations that grew out of the French Revolution and it was distinguished for its left-wing, revolutionary politics. [4] Because of this, the Jacobins, unlike other sects like the Girondins, were closely allied to the sans-culottes, who were a popular force of working-class Parisians that played a pivotal role in the development of the revolution.

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

<i>Sans-culottes</i> radical left-wing partisans of the lower classes during French Revolution

The sans-culottes were the common people of the lower classes in late 18th century France, a great many of whom became radical and militant partisans of the French Revolution in response to their poor quality of life under the Ancien Régime. The name sans-culottes refers to their clothing, and through that to their lower-class status: culottes were the fashionable silk knee-breeches of the 18th-century nobility and bourgeoisie, and the working class sans-culottes wore pantaloons, or trousers, instead. The sans-culottes, most of them urban labourers, served as the driving popular force behind the revolution. Though ill-clad and ill-equipped, they made up the bulk of the Revolutionary army during the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars.

The Jacobins had a significant presence in the National Convention, and were dubbed "the mountain" for their seats in the uppermost part of the chamber. Eventually, the Revolution coalesced around The Mountain's power, with the help of the insurrections of the sans-culottes, and, led by Robespierre, the Jacobins established a revolutionary dictatorship, or the joint domination of the Committee of Public Safety and Committee of General Security.

The Mountain

The Mountain was a political group during the French Revolution, whose members called the Montagnards sat on the highest benches in the National Assembly.

Committee of Public Safety De facto executive government in France (1793–1794)

The Committee of Public Safety, created in April 1793 by the National Convention and then restructured in July 1793, formed the de facto executive government in France during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), a stage of the French Revolution. The Committee of Public Safety succeeded the previous Committee of General Defence and assumed its role of protecting the newly established republic against foreign attacks and internal rebellion. As a wartime measure, the Committee—composed at first of nine and later of twelve members—was given broad supervisory powers over military, judicial and legislative efforts. 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. As the Committee tried to meet the dangers of a coalition of European nations and counter-revolutionary forces within the country, it became more and more powerful.

Committee of General Security

The Committee of General Security was a French parliamentary committee which acted as police agency during the French Revolution that, along with the Committee of Public Safety, oversaw the Reign of Terror.

The Jacobins were known for creating a strong government that could deal with the needs of war, economic chaos, and internal rebellion (such as the War in the Vendée). The Jacobin dictatorship was known for enacting the Reign of Terror, which targeted speculators, monarchists, right-wing agitators, Hébertists, and traitors, and led to many beheadings.

War in the Vendée part of the War of the First Coalition

The War in the Vendée was an uprising in the Vendée region of France during the French Revolution. The Vendée is a coastal region, located immediately south of the Loire River in western France. Initially, the war was similar to the 14th-century Jacquerie peasant uprising, but quickly acquired themes considered by the Jacobin government in Paris to be counter-revolutionary, and Royalist. The uprising headed by the newly formed Catholic and Royal Army was comparable to the Chouannerie, which took place in the area north of the Loire.

Reign of Terror period during the french revolution

The Reign of Terror, or The Terror, refers to a period during the French Revolution after the First French Republic was established.

The Hébertists, or Exaggerators were a radical revolutionary political group associated with the populist journalist Jacques Hébert, a member of the Cordeliers club. They came to power during the Reign of Terror and played a significant role in the French Revolution.

The Jacobins supported the rights of property, but represented a much more middle-class position than the government which succeeded them in Thermidor. Their economic policy established the General maximum, in order to control prices and create stability both for the workers and poor and the revolution. They favored free trade and a liberal economy much like the Girondists, but their relationship to the people made them more willing to adopt interventionist economic policies. [4] :81–82

Thermidorian Reaction event in 1794 in which Robespierre was denounced by the National Convention as a tyrant, leading to his (and his 21 associates’) arrest and beheading; named after the month Thermidor of the French Republican calendar in which the event took place

The Thermidorian Reaction was a counter revolution which took place in France on 9 Thermidor of the Year II. On this day, the French politician Maximilien Robespierre was denounced by members of the National Convention as "a tyrant", leading to Robespierre and twenty-one associates including Louis Antoine de Saint-Just being arrested that night and beheaded on the following day.

The General Maximum, or Law of the Maximum, was a law during the French Revolution, as an extension of the Law of Suspects on 29 September 1793. It succeeded the 4 May 1793 loi du maximum that also set price limits, deterred price gouging, and allowed for the continued flow of food supply to the French people.

Allegorical usage

The conventionalized scrawny, French revolutionary sans-culottes Jacobin, was developed from about 1790 by British satirical artists James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson and George Cruikshank. It was commonly contrasted with the stolid stocky conservative and well-meaning John Bull, dressed like an English country squire. C. L. R. James also used the term to refer to revolutionaries during the Haitian Revolution in his book The Black Jacobins .

United Kingdom

In England, the word was also popularized in George Canning's newspaper, The Anti-Jacobin, or Weekly Examiner, which criticized the English Radicals, of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The English who supported the French Revolution during its early stages (or even throughout) were early known as Jacobins. These included the young Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and others prior to their disillusionment with the outbreak of the Reign of Terror. Others, such as William Hazlitt and Thomas Paine, remained idealistic about the Revolution. Much detail on English Jacobinism can be found in E. P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class . Welsh Jacobins include William Jones, a radical patriot who was a keen disciple of Voltaire. Rather than preaching revolution, Jones believed that an exodus from Wales was required and that a new Welsh colony should be founded in the United States. [5]

Austria

In the correspondence of Metternich and other leaders of the repressive policies that followed the second fall of Napoleon in 1815, Jacobin is the term commonly applied to anyone with liberal tendencies, such as the emperor Alexander I of Russia. [6]

United States

Early Federalist-leaning American newspapers during the French Revolution referred to the Democratic-Republican party as the "Jacobin Party". The most notable examples are the Gazette of the United States , published in Philadelphia, and the Delaware and Eastern Shore Advertiser , published in Wilmington, during the elections of 1798.

In modern American politics, the term Jacobin is often used to describe extremists of any party who demand ideological purity. For instance, in the lead-up to the 1964 Republican National Convention, the press referred to supporters of the insurgent Arizona conservative Barry Goldwater as "Cactus Jacobins" in their effort to unseat the moderate East Coast branch of the party (see Rockefeller Republican). [7] L. Brent Bozell, Jr. has written in Goldwater's seminal The Conscience of a Conservative (1960) that "Throughout history, true Conservatism has been at war equally with autocrats and with 'democratic' Jacobins." [8] In 2010 a radical American publication, Jacobin , was founded.

Tea Party

In 2008–2010, the term was employed and started as a movement for presidential hopeful Ron Paul before being taken over by mainstream conservatives. For example, Eve Fairbanks described right-wing opponents of moderate Republican Congressman Wayne Gilchrest as "Jacobin conservatives" in The New Republic . [9] In the 27 May 2010 issue of The New York Review of Books, Columbia professor Mark Lilla analyzed five recent books dealing with American political party discontent in a review titled "The Tea Party Jacobins". [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

Right-wing politics hold that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition. Hierarchy and inequality may be viewed as natural results of traditional social differences or the competition in market economies. The term right-wing can generally refer to "the conservative or reactionary section of a political party or system".

In political science, a reactionary is a person who holds political views that favour a return to the status quo ante, the previous political state of society, which they believe possessed characteristics that are negatively absent from the contemporary status quo of a society. As an adjective, the word reactionary describes points of view and policies meant to restore the status quo ante.

Jacobin The most radical group in the French Revolution

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 and following. The period of their political ascendency is known as the Reign of Terror, during which time tens of thousands were put on trial and executed in France, many for political crimes.

National Convention single-chamber assembly in France from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795

The National Convention was the first government 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.

Jacques Hébert 1757-1794 French journalist and politician

Jacques René Hébert was a French journalist, and the founder and editor of the extreme radical newspaper Le Père Duchesne during the French Revolution. He was a leader of the French Revolution and had thousands of followers as the Hébertists ; he himself is sometimes called Père Duchesne, after his newspaper.

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.

Albert Marius Soboul was a historian of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods. A professor at the Sorbonne, he was Chair of the History of the French Revolution and author of numerous influential works of history and historical interpretation. In his lifetime he was internationally recognized as the foremost French authority on the Revolutionary era.

Jacques Roux was a radical Roman Catholic priest who took an active role in politics during the French Revolution. He skillfully expounded the ideals of popular democracy and classless society to crowds of Parisian sans-culottes, working class wage earners and shopkeepers, radicalizing them into a dangerous revolutionary force. He became a leader of a popular far-left.

The Enraged Ones were a small number of firebrands known for defending the lower class and expressing the demands of the radical sans-culottes during the French Revolution. They played an active role in the 31 May 31 – 2 June 1793 Paris uprisings that forced the expulsion of the Girondins from the National Convention, allowing the Montagnards to assume full control.

Muscadin

The term Muscadin, meaning "wearing musk perfume", came to refer to mobs of young men, relatively well-off and dressed in a dandyish manner, who were the street fighters of the Thermidorian Reaction in Paris in the French Revolution. After the coup against Robespierre and the Jacobins of 9 Thermidor Year II, or 27 July 1794, they took on the remaining Jacobins and sans-culottes, and largely succeeded in suppressing them over the next year or two. In prints they are often seen carrying large wooden clubs, which they liked to call "constitutions". They were supposedly organized by the politician and journalist Louis-Marie Stanislas Fréron, and eventually numbered 2,000-3,000. They in fact seem to have mostly consisted of the lower middle classes, the sons of "minor officials and small shopkeepers", and were quietly encouraged by the shaky new government, who had good reason to fear Jacobin mobs, and wider unrest as the hard winter of 1794-5 saw increasing hunger among the Parisian working class. The Muscadins are considered to be part of the First White Terror in response to the preceding Reign of Terror of the Jacobins.

Jacobin novel

Jacobin novels were written between 1780 and 1805 by British radicals who supported the ideals of the French revolution. The term was coined by literary scholar Gary Kelly in The English Jacobin Novel 1780-1805 (1976) but drawn from the title of the Anti-Jacobin: or, Weekly Examiner, a conservative periodical founded by the Tory politician George Canning. Canning chose to tar British reformers with the French term for the most radical revolutionaries: Jacobin. Among the Jacobin novelists were William Godwin, Robert Bage, Elizabeth Inchbald, and Charlotte Turner Smith.

The term political radicalism denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary or other means and changing value systems in fundamental ways.

First White Terror

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.

Revolt of 1 Prairial Year III riot

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 Society of Revolutionary and Republican Women were two most famous political clubs during the French Revolution formed May 10, 1793, lasting less than five months. In this short span, however, the two Societies managed to create quite a stir in the national political scene, and brought to light some controversial points about women and political and sexual equality.

Counter-revolutionary someone who opposes a revolution

A counter-revolutionary or anti-revolutionary is anyone who opposes a revolution, particularly those who act after a revolution to try to overturn or reverse it, in full or in part. The adjective, "counter-revolutionary," pertains to movements that would restore the state of affairs, or the principles, that prevailed during a prerevolutionary era.

References

  1. Tony Judt (2011). Marxism and the French Left: Studies on Labour and Politics in France, 1830–1981. New York & London: New York University Press. p. 108.
  2. Alain Rey, Dictionnaire historique de la langue française, Le Robert, 1992. [ page needed ][ ISBN missing ]
  3. Charles Brockden Brown; Philip Barnard, ed.; Stephen Shapiro, ed. (2009). Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland, Ormond, Arthur Mervyn, and Edgar Huntly. Hackett Publishing. p. 360.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  4. 1 2 Rudé, George (1988). The French Revolution.[ page needed ][ ISBN missing ]
  5. Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel; Menna, Baines; Lynch, Peredur I., eds. (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. p. 434. ISBN   978-0-7083-1953-6.
  6. Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Phillips, Walter Alison (1911). "Jacobins, The"  . In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica . 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 119.
  7. Donaldson, Gary (2003). Liberalism's Last Hurrah: The Presidential Campaign of 1964. Armonk, NY: Sharpe. p. 174. ISBN   0765611198.
  8. Goldwater, Barry M. (1960). The Conscience of a Conservative. Shepherdsville, KY: Victor Publishing Company. p. 12.
  9. Fairbanks, Eve (5 November 2008). "Unsafe At Any District". The New Republic . Canwest . Retrieved 24 October 2008.
  10. "The Tea Party Jacobins", Mark Lilla, The New York Review of Books , 27 May 2010, p.53