The Jacobin Club was the oldest political club in France, founded in 1789. While it had several regional branches, the Parisian Jacobin chapter was the most influential of all, and hence, the Club was mainly viewed to be a Paris-centric one. Initially, in 1789, the Jacobin Club was a relatively moderate one which supported France to become a constitutional monarchy.

However, by 1790, it had progressed further to the left of politics and called for France to be a republic, in line with the Cordeliers. The Jacobins were strongly supported by the sans-culottes who appreciated the Jacobins’ support for direct democracy and popular rights and liberty. Indeed, it was the sans-culottes who helped secure the power of the Jacobins following the expulsion of the Girondins from government, with historian Green commenting that “in many ways, the Jacobins owed their political ascendancy to popular intervention.”

The Jacobins officially took over government in mid-1793, led by Robespierre, and composed many of the major institutions of the time, most notably the Committee of General Security and the Committee of Public Safety. Once in government, the Club factionalised due to the external pressures of international war as well as growing ideological differences about the ongoing necessity of the Terror. It was this, along with narrowing of the political spectrum which led to their ultimate downfall in July 1794.

The Club was closed on 12 November 1794.


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