Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Jacobins were the most radical and egalitarian group involved in the French Revolution. They led the government from June 1793 to July 1794, the most politically radical year of the revolution and also the year of the Terror. During their time in power, they attempted to create a “republic of virtue”—that is, a republic that attempted to purify its citizens of moral corruption. The Jacobins fell from power with the overthrow of Maximilien Robespierre. They were never to achieve power in France again. But they left a long legacy, particularly within France itself, where there continued to be a tradition of Jacobin politics on the left, while on the right the memory of the Jacobin republic has been abhorred. The origins of the Jacobins lay in the Breton club, which was founded shortly after the outbreak of the revolution in 1789 by deputies to the new National Assembly. It ...