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The Terror

  • Brian C. J. Singer

Abstract

It was common, when discussing the gouvernement révolutionnaire of Year II, to characterize the Jacobins as advocates of direct democracy. In fact, in many respects the Jacobins came to a position that was the polar opposite of those few ‘ultras’ who opposed representative government for reasons of principle. (Though because the opposition between the positions was so congruent, such a characterization of the Jacobins was perhaps more insightful than the term ‘dictatorship’ often favoured by modern commentators.) Given then that the rejection of representation by several of the enragés and Cordeliers closely paralleled the advocacy of representation by the Jacobin leadership, it will be worth our while to briefly examine the former’s conception of government, before moving on to an analysis of the dynamics of government under the Jacobins.

Keywords

Public Opinion Political Representation Direct Democracy French Revolution Society Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 16.
    See Jacques Roux, Scripta et acta (East Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1969) pp. 286–315.Google Scholar
  2. 17.
    Daniel Guérin, Class Struggle in the First French Republic: Bourgeois and Bras Nus 1793–1795 (London: Pluto Press, 1977).Google Scholar
  3. Albert Soboul, Les sans-culottes, and Mouvement populaire et gouvernment révolutionnaire en Van II (Paris: Flammarion, 1973).Google Scholar
  4. 20.
    François-Xavier Lanthenas, Des Sociétés populaires considérés comme une branche essentielle de l’instruction publique (Paris: Imprimerie du Cercle social, 1972) p. 16.Google Scholar
  5. 21.
    Louis-Sébastien Mercier, De J.J. Rousseau, considéré comme l’un des premier auteurs de la Révolution, vol II (Paris: Buisson, 1791), p. 10.Google Scholar
  6. 30.
    Richard Cobb, The Police and the People, French Popular Protest 1789–1820 (London: Oxford, 1970) pp. 48–58.Google Scholar
  7. 34.
    Jean-Pierre Faye, Dictionnaire politique portatif en cinq mots (Paris: Gallimard, 1982) p. 103.Google Scholar
  8. 40.
    Hannah Arendt, On Revolution (New York: Viking, 1965) pp. 91–105.Google Scholar
  9. 43.
    Richard T. Bienvenu (ed), The Ninth of Thermidor: the Fall of Robespierre (New York: Oxford, 1968) p. 173.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Brian C. J. Singer 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian C. J. Singer

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