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Cordeliers (kôrdəlyā´), political club of the French Revolution. Founded (1790) as the Society of the Friends of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, it was called after its original meeting place, the suppressed monastery of the Cordeliers (Franciscan Recollects). It provided a political base for Georges Danton and Jean Paul Marat. In 1792–93, after Danton left the club, it was instrumental in the destruction of the Girondists. After Marat's assassination the club was led by Jacques René Hébert and it drifted to the extreme left. Controlling the Paris commune, the Hébertists seemed a threat to the power of Maximilien Robespierre, who had them executed during the Reign of Terror. The club dissolved after Hébert was executed (Mar., 1794).

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Cordelier a Franciscan Observant; so named from the knotted cord (Old French cordelle ‘small rope’) which these friars wore around the waist.

The Cordeliers were one of the political clubs of the French Revolution; the name derived from the meeting-place of the club, a former convent of the Franciscan Cordeliers.