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French Revolution


History >> French Revolution

Who were the Jacobins?

The Jacobins were members of an influential political club during the French Revolution. They were radical revolutionaries who plotted the downfall of the king and the rise of the French Republic. They are often associated with a period of violence during the French Revolution called "the Terror."

A Meeting at the Jacobin Club
by Lebel, editor, Paris
How did they get their name?

The official name of the political club was the Society of Friends of the Constitution. The club became known by the nickname the "Jacobin Club" after the Jacobin monastery where the club met in Paris.

Importance During the French Revolution

At the start of the French Revolution in 1789, the Jacobins were a fairly small club. The members were like-minded deputies of the National Assembly. However, as the French Revolution progressed, the club grew rapidly. At the height of their power, there were thousands of Jacobin clubs throughout France and around 500,000 members.


One of the most powerful members of the Jacobins was Maximilien Robespierre. Robespierre used the influence of the Jacobins to rise in the new revolutionary government of France. At one point, he was the most powerful man in France.

The Terror

In 1793, the new French government was facing internal civil war and was being attacked by foreign countries. The Jacobins were afraid that the revolution was going to fail. Behind the leadership of Robespierre, the Jacobins instituted a state of "Terror." Under this new rule of law, they would arrest, and often execute, anyone suspected of treason. Thousands of people were executed and hundreds of thousands were arrested.

Fall of the Jacobins

Eventually, the people realized that the state of terror could not continue. They overthrew Robespierre and had him executed. The Jacobin Club was banned and many of its leaders were executed or jailed.

Jacobin Factions

There were two major factions within the Jacobins: Other Political Clubs

While the Jacobins were the most influential political club during the French Revolution, they weren't the only club. One of these clubs was the Cordeliers. The Cordeliers were led by Georges Danton and played a major role in the Storming of the Bastille. Other clubs included the Pantheon Club, the Feuillants Club, and the Society of 1789.

Interesting Facts about the Jacobins of the French Revolution Activities

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More on the French Revolution:

Timeline and Events
Timeline of the French Revolution
Causes of the French Revolution
Estates General
National Assembly
Storming of the Bastille
Women's March on Versailles
Reign of Terror
The Directory
Famous People of the French Revolution
Marie Antoinette
Napoleon Bonaparte
Marquis de Lafayette
Maximilien Robespierre

Symbols of the French Revolution
Glossary and Terms

Works Cited

History >> French Revolution

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