POLITICAL GROUPS DURING THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND REVIEW FOR THE EXAM
Today, Paqui has put some delays to some classmates, including me, because we have been late. At first, Paqui has been so angry with us because we have talked a lot and we haven't prepared the notes and the book when we have arrived to the class.
Then, Paqui has explained a scheme that she has prepared on the blackboard during the break time. It has been about the political groups that existed in the French Revolution.
She has told us that in this event people interested in politics met at the Jacobin Club, and were mostly monarchists, but reformists. This was like this until the king Louis XVI's attempt to flee to Austria. Due to that, there was a schism in the club, it was divided into Republicans (people who wanted the deposition of the King) and the Feuillants. The Feuillants wanted a Constitutional Monarchy as reflected in 1791 Constitution. Then, the Republicans divided into two groups: the Jacobins and the Girondists. The Jacobins were led by Robespierre and other important Jacobins were Couthon and Saint-Just. Some important Girondists were Brissot, Vergniaud and Ducos, and they controlled the National Convention between September 1792 and June 1793. Finally, the Jacobins and the Cordeliers joined together in a new political group known as the Montagnards who controlled the National Convention between June 1793 and July 1794.
Robespierre and the National Convention
Paqui has explained that the groups placed on the left of the scheme were groups more revolutionary, progressive, secular and reformist who wanted to eliminate the Ancien Régime (left), like the Jacobins and the Cordeliers. The groups placed on the right were conservative and they wanted to preserve some things of the Ancien Régime such as the Monarchy (right), like the Feuillants. The Girondists were moderate and represented the bourgeoisie.
She has also explained that the groups from center to right (Girondists and Feuillants) ended governing and the revolutionary groups were accused of being bloody and the bad ones, so most of them were guillotined. She has said that history is always written by the winners.
Now, I'm going to write about the Montagnards, the people who were accused of being bad people. I have found in Internet that after the defeat of the Girondists in the National Convention, the Jacobins joined the Committee of Public Safety. Consequently, it became the executive power in 1793. Then Robespierre eliminated their enemies and he imposed a dictatorship, he recruited a very big army and to repress domestic opposition, he instituted the Reign of Terror, in which the enemies of the revolution were executed by guillotine. Then, the National Convention ordered to kill the members of the Terror, including Robespierre in 1794; this is called the Thermidorian Reaction and it ended with the most radical phase of the revolution.
Here I have put the source of the last paragraph: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_of_Public_Safety
This is the official version, the one that has been repeated since the Thermidorian reaction, the winners' version. But this is not completely true:
-The Committee of Public Safety was appointed by the National Convention. They assumed the executive power in extraordinary circumstances, but their decisions were approved by the National Convention.
-Robespierre was only one among other members of the Committee and he couldn't decide anything on his own. He was the most popular member of the Committee and the Jacobin Convention, but he didn't impose a dictatorship: there was no press censorship and the suspected counter-revolutionaries were sent to the Revolutionary Tribunal, who decided on sentences, not Robespierre. In fact, Robespierre saved a group of Girondists who had been arrested and were sentenced to death.
-The Reign of Terror (executions of counter-revolutionary people) started before the Jacobins controlled the National Convention and the Committee of Public Safety.
Most of the history books that talk about the French Revolution have depicted the Montagnards and the Jacobins as monsters and responsible for all the excesses one could imagine. but this wasn't really true. This was the most convenient story to stop popular reforms and demand the return of order.
Execution of Roberspierre
Carmen has asked Paqui that if we can go to the class at eight o'clock on Wednesday, and Paqui has answered yes.
After that, we have reviewed for the exam which is on Wednesday. Paqui has showed us some exercises in the computer made by herself. They have consisted in writing a, b, c or d, filling the gaps.etc. The exercises were about kings, characteristics of some estates .etc. We have answered the questions together and we have made a lot of noise, so Paqui has tried to avoid it saying that we had to answer the questions one by one. Then, the bell has rung.
We have also included some words in our glossary:
- Treason: traición.
- Traitor: traidor.
- Schism: cisma.
- To go further: ir más lejos.
- Bloody: sangriento.
The exam is next class! Study!
See you guys!
P.D. If you want to know more about the most important politicians of this period, I have included some links to wikipedia over their names. I have also included the links in the different political ideologies, political groups, institutions. etc.