Several groups of people did not join the Jacobin Club. Cordeliers, Girondists, Montagnards, and Feuillants, among others, were all opposed to the French Revolution. However, there were a few moderate Jacobin Club deputies who remained. They later assumed prominent positions within the club.
The Cordeliers were a group of Jacobins who opposed the rule of the Jacobin Club. They participated in the August 10 insurrection but did not join it. The most important Cordeliers in the insurrection were Danton, Desmoulins, and Fabre d’Eglantine. These men would later become ministers in the government which was formed following the insurrection. The September Massacres soon followed. These events led to a new era of violence and turmoil in Paris.
The Jacobin Club eventually closed. But the Cordeliers remained and continued to meet and express their criticisms. The club’s motto was “Freedom is Universal,” and it was an expression of the Cordeliers’ radicalism. Although they did not join the Jacobin Club, they were a major influence in the events of the Revolution.
The Cordeliers did not join the Jacobin Club for ideological reasons. They wished to preserve the freedom to practice religion. However, they felt the need for discipline, and the Jacobins’ organization would provide that discipline. It is important to remember that France was in the grip of a civil war and a coalition of hostile powers outside. The Jacobin organization was the only effective tool for discipline in France.
The Jacobins were divided into several factions. The Montagnards, for example, did not have a traditional symbol. They adopted a modified version of a medallion held in the Musee Carnevalet in Paris, showing a pike surmounted by a Phrygian hat. The medal was made by the engraver Pierre Joseph Tiolier and is a fine example of the Jacobin symbol.
While the Jacobins were preparing for a fight with the Girondists, they had the power of the Paris Commune, prestige of their leaders, and the support of their Jacobin Clubs. They also had military power and a separate National Guard.
The French Revolution had become an egalitarian movement a year later. Its leaders had overthrown the monarchy and declared France a republic. They replaced the National Constituent Assembly with the National Convention, and pursued a much more radical agenda. As a result, the Jacobin Club changed its name to the Society of the Jacobins, which means “Friends of Liberty and Equality.”
After the establishment of the republic, the Girondists were unsatisfied with the result. They opposed the new status quo and opposed the Septembriseurs. The Girondists did not join the Jacobin Club. However, they were not entirely opposed to the September Massacres, as they favored the removal of the monarchy.
The Girondins did not form a formal party, but were loosely affiliated individuals who were deputies in the Legislative Assembly. They supported the elimination of the monarchy and were also warring with The Mountain, a radical faction of the Jacobin Club. Because of this, the Girondists did not join the club, but their political influence was far-reaching.
The Convention was made up of three separate parties, Mountain, Gironde, and Plain. The Girondins were a minority of the delegates, while the other two were represented by the Jacobins. The Mountain, Gironde, and Plain parties were all pro-Revolutionary. Their numbers in the Convention were low compared to the Jacobins, although they did provide a valuable service to the King.
The Montagnards were a political group that aimed to achieve radical changes in society. This group was supported by the petty bourgeoisie and urban working classes. The group’s name is descriptive, meaning “without stockings.” They were founded in the National Convention and gained their name for their presence in the convention’s highest benches. Their political platform advocated radical economic equality and high levels of government involvement. Their leaders included Maximilien Robespierre, Jacques Hebert, and Georges Danton. Their influence was most noticeable during the Reign of Terror.
The Constitution of 1793 was ratified in the July popular vote. The Convention then formally adopted the Constitution on August 10. The document also included the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. This Constitution lasted for a few months, but it was overthrown in October by the Jacobins. In the meantime, the Montagnards killed thousands of alleged enemies of the state. In the end, this revolt was the beginning of the Revolution in France.
However, the Jacobin Club did not last long. The Jacobin Club was closed by the National Convention in November 1794. The National Convention then executed Robespierre and his 21 associates.