Role of Political Clubs on Frnech Revolution

Topics: French Revolution, Maximilien Robespierre, Reign of Terror Pages: 6 (1674 words) Published: October 3, 2011
History, Piotrek Szumowski

Assess the role of the political clubs for the course of the French Revolution

The revolution begun in 1789 with the meeting of the states general. Soon later the Bastille was stormed (till this day French celebrate it as their national holiday), the king was executed and a new constitution was written up. By 1799, end of the revolution, a new time had come not just for the French government, but for all. The revolution was to have an astonishing impact on world affairs, and its effect can be directly seen today. What french political clubs existed at the time and what part did they play during the course of that revolution? One by one I will try to answer this question by looking at how each political party influenced the events and what mark did they leave after themselves. Towards the end I will combine the individual information stated under the heading of each club in order to really understand the impact of these conglomerates.

Before we start it is important to first define what a political club really is. According to source [2] it is an organized group with a leader at its helm. It contains a political program that targets specific social groups. It's aim is to rise to power and to enforce that program. The article also underlines the importance of the french revolution to the way we understand politics today. It recognizes that the division on left and right wing originates exactly from that period. The importance of clubs during the French revolution can be summed up by the words of historian Alan Woods "The basic cell of the Revolution, especially in Paris but also in the provinces, was the club and the secret society. It is impossible to understate the importance of organizations like the revolutionary clubs, whose model was the Jacobin Club ("The Society of the Friends of the Constitution") in Paris. Here the masses came to debate the burning issues of the day, to listen to the most popular leaders, to cheer and hiss, to argue&emdash;to decide. Through the medium of their clubs, the masses put pressure on the elected deputies in the National Assembly; they mobilized public opinion; they acted as a focal point to channel discontent".

Cordeliers

Founded in 1790 it served as a political base for Danton and Marat. Interestingly women had an prominent role in the club, serving important functions. The group notably popularized the motto "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité". Following Marat's assassination the club was led by Jacques René Hebert and it drifted to the extreme left. One of the key ideas of the new leader was to form a revolutionary army. In the summer of 1791, the Cordeliers had a key role in the making of the constitution. In the summer of 1791 Delegates met with a crowd on the Champ de Mars, but the crowd was dispersed by the National Guard. Subsequent repression focused on the club. Restored to prominence by 1792, the Cordeliers were at the heart of the movement that overthrew the monarchy on August 10th. The Cordeliers also played an important role in the expulsion of the Girondins from the National Convention in 1793. In March 1794, the club was purged by the Jacobins. The club then submitted to the oppressors, and only a few members continued to meet until the spring of 1795, but by this point the club had little influence.

Jacobins

Formed in 1789 together with the Cordeliers represented the left wing. The club had considerable influence on the legislative Assembly, in which they and the Feuillants were 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. 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. Members of the club...
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