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Rise of the Jacobins

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Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David




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the constitutional monarchy
there were two radical groups vying for power, the Girondins
and the Jacobins. Although both groups were more radical in
their views than the moderates who had designed the constitutional
monarchy, the Girondins were somewhat less radical. In late
1791, the Girondins first emerged as an important power in France.
At first the two parties were united in their views.

Girondins were concerned about the plight of the blacks in
France’s colonies and were instrumental in passing legislation
granting equal rights to all free blacks and mulattoes.  

wanted the declaration of war against Austria in early 1792
in the hopes that a show of strength would give them leverage
with the King. The Jacobins grew increasingly critical of
Girondin policies.

the September massacres later
that year, the Girondin leaders tried to persuade the crowds
out of their bloody attacks. The Jacobins, who understood
the Parisians better than the provincial Girondins, encouraged
the violence. They continued to attack the feeble Girondins. 

charlotte Corday
Charlotte Corday

Jean-Paul Marat, a Jacobin journalist who showed little regard
for the truth, was arrested for attacking Girondins, the people
of Paris turned even more toward the Jacobins.  The people
loved Marat and he seemed to love them too. When he was acquitted
of the charge, the crowds swarmed around him, scooped him
up on their shoulders and carried him the the Convention,
cheering all the way.

the constitutional monarchy fell and he King was put on trial
for treason in December, the Girondins argued against his
execution. The Jacobins thought he needed to die to ensure
the safety of the revolution. When the Jacobins were successful
the tide turned against the Girondins. The Jacobins in the
National Convention had 22 Girondin leaders arrested and executed.
The Jacobins had won.

final Girondin blow was struck, however, when Charlotte Corday,
a Girondin sympathizer, gained entrance  to Marat’s bath
and stabbed him. Marat immediately became a martyr to the
revolution. He was given a hero’s funeral and the procession
lasted 7 hours.

Spreading the Gospel of Revolution

of Liberté,
Egalité, Fraternité: The French Revolution

The French Revolution

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