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.
KeywordsPublic Opinion Political Representation Direct Democracy French Revolution Society Theory
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