Jacobin clubs in the provinces

Jacobin clubs in the provinces

  • Journal of the Friends of the Constitution.

  • Choderlos de Laclos.

  • Popular society session.

  • Three Jacobin club membership cards.

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Title: Journal of the Friends of the Constitution.

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Creation date : 1790

Date shown: 1790

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Storage location: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photo workshop website

Picture reference: ADXX / A273 Jal des Amis de la Const.N ° 1 p.1,2,49,50

Journal of the Friends of the Constitution.

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

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Title: Choderlos de Laclos.

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Date shown:

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Technique and other indications: Drawing by Louis Carrogis dit Carmontelle; Morel Sculp.

Storage location: National Library of France (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo National Library of France

Picture reference: East. N2 Laclos

© Photo National Library of France

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Title: Popular society session.

Author :

Date shown:

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Technique and other indications: designed by Mr. Louis René Boquet.

Storage location: National Library of France (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo National Library of France

Picture reference: Est.Rés.Ve-53g-Fol.Destailleur Paris t.5-912

Popular society session.

© Photo National Library of France

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Title: Three Jacobin club membership cards.

Author :

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - Bullozsite web

Picture reference: 01-019413 / AE / V / 368; AE / V / 369; AE / V / 372

Three Jacobin club membership cards.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - Bulloz

Publication date: December 2005

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Jacobin clubs in the provinces

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Historical context

The evolution of Jacobin clubs

In many towns in France, clubs were born spontaneously in 1789, local creations of citizens eager to take part in the Revolution. As soon as they learn of the opening of the Society of Friends of the Constitution, which sits in a former Jacobin convent, they quickly seek to forge links of "association" and "correspondence" with the great club of Paris. popular. Thus a strong de facto resemblance is established: the course of the sessions, once adopted, is hardly changed. The appearance of the network of clubs is a novelty of the Revolution, but its origins can be found, under the Ancien Régime, in the organization of Freemasonry and in certain reading and literature circles.

The number of affiliated clubs grew very rapidly, from 90 in 1790 to 434 in July 1791; there are also 500 societies not affiliated with the Jacobins but corresponding or affiliated with other official clubs. The secession of members who created the Club des Feuillants provoked a democratic reaction from the Jacobins who, in October 1791, made their meetings public and pushed for the opening of popular societies throughout France.

After the overthrow of kingship on August 10, 1792, the project of a constitutional monarchy collapsed, and the Jacobin clubs changed their name to "Society of Friends of Liberty and Equality". Soon, they remained almost the only clubs in operation.

In 1793, clubs existed in 1,500 towns; several hundred are, however, inactive. Under the Terror, the recruitment of members of revolutionary surveillance committees will be easily done among the extreme elements of the clubs.

At the time of the Jacobin dictatorship, 5,332 of the most important French municipalities had a popular society. They provide the Convention with the means to exercise power during the fourteen months of the Terror.

Image Analysis

Journal of the Friends of the Constitution

The Journal of the Friends of the Constitution is designed by Pierre Ambroise Choderlos de Laclos (1741-1803), author of Dangerous Liaisons, who was then the trusted man of Philippe d´Orléans (the future Philippe-Égalité). In its first issue, the Newspaper publishes its intentions: to respond to the needs of societies affiliated with the Jacobins of Paris to correspond with each other; it also gives the first list of affiliates.
The volume of letters exchanged is considerable and entails postage costs which weigh heavily on their cash flow. Their publication by the Newspaper allows this expense to be limited and is a huge success when it is published. But it ultimately fails as a correspondence body, as clubs in departments do not want to give up club-to-club exchanges; it ceased to appear in September 1791. The reading of many other newspapers continued.

Popular society session

Forty-three people, all men, are gathered in a beautiful room; on the walls appear the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, a Phrygian cap, flags and several laws or texts. A speaker, in the gallery, on the right, faces a president, on the left, seated in an armchair and wearing the red cap. Below him, a secretary at a desk takes note of the statements. A mustached figure, standing in the center, in hooves, appears to be addressing all the listeners, or answering questions from the chairman and the speaker. Around are gathered citizens seated on benches or bleachers. From their clothes, they appear to be mostly popular.

The drawing by Louis René Bocquet, former inspector of the King’s Menus-Plaisirs and designer of the Royal Academy of Music, received its title after its creation. But these assistants are too numerous to compose a revolutionary monitoring committee - usually made up of a dozen sans-culottes. The organization talks about a popular society meeting, perhaps one of those cleansing sessions that all clubs experienced during the Terror. Each publicly implicated member was subjected to questions such as "How did you react to the death of the tyrant?" "," What newspaper have you subscribed to since the beginning of the Revolution? »,« Did you increase your assets? »,« Did you discredit the summons by your words or your actions? ".
The central figure and several members wear badges, different from the cockades put on the hairstyles; club membership cards were worn on the clothing.
Two national guards watch over the session, one seems to exclude a paralytic in rags, who nevertheless carries a membership card ...

Jacobin club membership cards

The terms "friends of Liberty and Equality" designate after August 10, 1792 the clubs affiliated with the Jacobins of Paris. Members must carry their card, similar to these, during sessions to be distinguished from the public. To show revolutionary zeal, everyone will be registered in the club's registers and try to protect their life and property by going to the Jacobins to cover themselves with the red cap.

Interpretation

Jacobin practice

The Jacobin dictatorship can be observed here in its daily practice: the meeting place, often confiscated Church property, the speakers' platform, opposite the chair of the president and the office of secretaries, the tiered arrangement. At the time of its hegemony, recruitment was mostly popular. Egalitarianism among members, however, excludes the needy, over-poor workers and women; these are however present among the citizens admitted to attend.

The sessions observe a fairly strict ritual of reporting, reading of speeches, purifying ballot, drafting of multiple addresses sent to the Convention or to the Committee of Public Safety, to influence the votes of the Assembly in the direction desired by the Jacobins from Paris. All this alternates with cheers and chants. Altercations are frequent. We vote by acclamation or by majority, by show of hands, rarely by secret ballot, even in the case of purges.

  • Jacobinism
  • hurry
  • Terror
  • Convention
  • Choderlos de Laclos (Pierre Ambroise)
  • Orleans (d ') Louis-Philipe (Philippe-Egalité)
  • Jacobins

Bibliography

Michael KENNEDY, The Jacobin Clubs in the French Revolution. The First Years, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1982. Michael KENNEDY, The Jacobin Clubs in the French Revolution. The Middle Years, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1988. Michael KENNEDY, The Jacobin Clubs in the French Revolution (1793-1795), 2 vol., 1982-1988, reedited New York-Oxford, Bergahn Bouks, 2000 Gérard NOW, The Jacobins, Paris, PUF, coll. "What do I know? », 1984. Gérard WALTER, History of the Jacobins, Paris, Aimery Somogy, 1946.

To cite this article

Luce-Marie ALBIGÈS, "The Jacobin clubs in the provinces"


Video: Jacobin Club