White Terror

Given the fall of the Jacobins, there was a sense among the populace that revenge needed to be taken against Jacobin sympathisers.

As such, from late 1794 to 1795, any known Jacobins or those who sympathised with them were seized and attacked, often brutally murdered as occurred during the September Massacres, with much of this revenge activity spearheaded by those in the Vendée region. This was termed the White Terror. The motivation primarily stemmed from the excesses of the Terror and persecution of Catholics, which pushed the National Convention to re-allow freedom of private religious practice in September 1794. McPhee estimated that about 2,000 people were killed during the White Terror.

Moreover, there was also a widespread rejection of Jacobin ideology which manifested as destruction of many artworks, and permitted people to enjoy finer clothing and social events, which was effectively prohibited from 1792 to 1794. There was also a section of middle-class Parisian youth called the ‘Muscadins’ who were the sons of aristocrats who had been executed during the Revolution. The Muscadins were also key agents during the White Terror, and invaded working class suburbs where they attacked radical workers and sans-culottes, often with the intention so that they could not attend section meetings.


See Also