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Jacobins

Jacobins (jăk´əbĬnz), political club of the French Revolution. Formed in 1789 by the Breton deputies to the States-General, it was reconstituted as the Society of Friends of the Constitution after the revolutionary National Assembly moved (Oct., 1789) to Paris. The club derived its popular name from the monastery of the Jacobins (Parisian name of Dominicans), where the members met. Their chief purpose was to concert their activity and to secure support for the group from elements outside the Assembly. Patriotic societies were formed in most French cities in affiliation with the Parisian club. The members were, for the most part, bourgeois and at first included such moderates as Honoré de Mirabeau. The Jacobins exercised through their journals considerable pressure on the Legislative Assembly, in which they and the Feuillants were (1791–92) the chief factions. They sought to limit the powers of the king, and many of them had republican tendencies. The group split on the issue of war against Europe, which the majority, including the Brissotins (see under Brissot de Warville, Jacques Pierre) sought. A small minority opposed foreign war and insisted on reform. This group of Jacobins grew more radical, adopted republican ideas, and advocated universal manhood suffrage, popular education, and separation of church and state, although it adhered to orthodox economic principles. In the National Convention, which proclaimed the French republic, the Jacobins and other opponents of the Girondists sat in the raised seats and were called the Mountain. Their leaders—Maximilien Robespierre and Louis de Saint-Just, among others—relied mainly on the strength of the Paris commune and the Parisian sans-culottes. After the fall of the Girondists (June, 1793), for which the Jacobins were largely responsible, the Jacobin leaders instituted the Reign of Terror. Under Robespierre, who came to dominate the government, the Terror was used not only against counterrevolutionaries, but also against former allies of the Jacobins, such as the Cordeliers and the Dantonists (followers of Georges Danton). The fall of Robespierre on 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794) meant the fall of the Jacobins, but their spirit lived on in revolutionary doctrine. The movement reappeared during the Directory and in altered form much later in the Revolution of 1848 and in the Paris Commune of 1871.

See I. Woloch, Jacobin Legacy: The Democratic Movement under the Directory (1970); M. L. Kennedy, The Jacobin Club of Marseilles (1973); Kennedy, The Jacobin Clubs in the French Revolution (2 vol., 1982–88).

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Jacobin Clubs

JACOBIN CLUBS

JACOBIN CLUBS, activist political clubs that appeared in the cities of the United States in the years from 1793 to 1795. The first club began in Paris under the name Club Breton, in October 1789: it met in a Dominican, or Jacobin, convent in the Rue St. Honoré. The Jacobin clubs gained increasing influence in the French Revolution after France declared itself a republic in 1792. Led by Maximilien Robespierre in 1793, the clubs helped support the most radical phase of the French Revolution. The French Jacobins believed in universal equality among citizens, the freedom of the individual, and universal brotherhood. By July 1794 the Paris Jacobin club was closed after the Jacobin leaders associated with Robespierre lost power. In November 1794 the clubs were suppressed.

The first American club began in Philadelphia in 1793. Some of the members were skilled craftsmen, others were merchants and professionals, and many were prominent intellectuals. Their membership overlapped with the Democratic Society of Philadelphia. Similarly, the Jacobin Club of Charleston, South Carolina, over-lapped with the Republican Society there. The Charleston Club had connections through the prominent Huguenots in that city to other sympathizers with the French Revolution in the West Indies and in France. The Jacobin clubs in the United States sought to promote the broad aims of the French Revolution, including democracy and support for the French government against the European monarchies warring against it. Initially, their aims were popular in the cities, but after American disillusionment with the French minister Edmond Charles Genêt, the influence of the Jacobin clubs waned.

By 1795 the clubs had largely disbanded. "Jacobinism," however, had become a loaded epithet in American political rhetoric, used by Federalists to target not only radical democrats but also any follower of Thomas Jefferson, or any member of the Democratic Republican Party. The word "Jacobin" as an epithet still appeared occasionally in American conservative journals in the 1820s, a generation after the Jacobins in France had become politically moribund.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kennedy, Michael L. "A French Jacobin Club in Charleston, South Carolina, 1792–1795." South Carolina Historical Magazine 91 (1990): 4–22.

———. The Jacobin Clubs in the French Revolution. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1988.

Link, Eugene Perry. Democratic-Republican Societies, 1790–1800. New York: Columbia University Press, 1942.

Andrew W.Robertson

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Jacobin

Jacobin a member of a democratic club established in Paris in 1789. The Jacobins were the most radical and ruthless of the political groups formed in the wake of the French Revolution, and in association with Robespierre they instituted the Terror of 1793–4.

The term was applied to the Dominicans in Old French from their church in Paris, St Jacques (Latin, Jacobus), near which they built their first convent; the latter eventually became the headquarters of the French revolutionary group.

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Jacobins

Jacobins Political club of the French Revolution. In 1789 Breton members of the States-General met in a Dominican (Fr. ‘Jacobin’) monastery to form the Jacobin Club. By 1791, it had branches throughout France. By 1792, Robespierre had seized control of the Jacobins and the club adopted more radical policies. In 1793, they engineered the expulsion of the Girondins and the club became an instrument of the Reign of Terror. It collapsed after Robespierre's downfall in 1794.

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Jacobins

Jacobins were originally a faction or group in Paris who met in the old Dominican convent at the church of St Jacques, and opposed the more moderate Girondin group. The name was soon borrowed in England and applied, not merely to admirers of the French Revolution, but indiscriminately to radicals and reformers. It was exploited by Canning and his friends in their jeu d'esprit the Anti-Jacobin, which came out in 1798/9.

J. A. Cannon

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Jacobin

Jacobin1
A. Dominican (friar), orig. from the convent near the church of Saint-Jacques (L. Jacōbus) in Paris XIV;

B. member of a political club established at Paris 1789 near the old Jacobin convent XVIII. — (O)F. Jacobin — medL. Jacōbīnus.

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Jacobin

Jacobin2 breed of domestic pigeon with reversed feathers on the back of the neck suggesting a monk's cowl. XVII. — F. jacobine, fem. of Jacobin (see prec.).

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Jacobin

Jacobinagin, akin, begin, Berlin, bin, Boleyn, Bryn, chin, chin-chin, Corinne, din, fin, Finn, Flynn, gaijin, gin, Glyn, grin, Gwyn, herein, Ho Chi Minh, in, inn, Jin, jinn, kin, Kweilin, linn, Lynn, mandolin, mandoline, Min, no-win, pin, Pinyin, quin, shin, sin, skin, spin, therein, thin, Tientsin, tin, Tonkin, Turin, twin, underpin, Vietminh, violin, wherein, whin, whipper-in, win, within, Wynne, yin •weigh-in • lutein • lie-in • Samhain •Bowen, Cohen, Owen, throw-in •heroin, heroine •benzoin •bruin, ruin, shoo-in •Bedouin • Islwyn •genuine, Menuhin •cabin, Scriabin •Portakabin • sin bin • swingbin •bobbin, dobbin, robin •haemoglobin (US hemoglobin) •Reuben • dubbin • dustbin • Jacobin •kitchen, lichen •Cochin • urchin

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