The Girondin party was a political party, led by Jacques-Pierre Brissot, which rose to prominence in 1792. It was a regionally-focussed party, with most deputies from the Bordeaux and Gironde area, which strongly believed in the decentralisation of power, especially away from Paris.
The Girondins became the governing political party of France in 1792 and were the key proposers of war against Austria and Prussia, with Brissot declaring “we cannot be calm…until Europe, all Europe, is in flames”1.
However, several factors contributed to their ultimate demise in 1793. Firstly, the Girondins made personal attacks on Robespierre, Danton and Marat, three of the most well-liked public figures at that time in late 1792 France. Secondly, they alienated the sans-culottes, believing that they had too much influence and disagreeing with direct democracy as a concept, and attacked the Insurrectionary Commune, which had been instrumental in changing the power balance in France through the Second Invasion of the Tuileries. Thirdly, the French public – particularly those in Paris – poorly perceived the Girondins’ decision to oppose the execution of the King, which many equated with royalism. Finally, a key Girondin member and military star, General Dumouriez, who was responsible for much of the French military coordination against Austria and Prussia, defected to Austria on 5 April 1793, which thereby tainted all Girondins as being “treacherous”.
This led to the expulsion of the Girondin government between 31 May and 2 June 1793 from the National Convention. They were executed on 31 October 1793.
Doyle, W. The French Revolution: a very short introduction, p.52 ↩
Want to suggest an edit? Have some questions? General comments? Let us know how we can make this resource more useful to you.