The White Terror was a period during the French Revolution in 1795, when a wave of violent attacks swept across much of France. The victims of this violence were people identified as being associated with the Reign of Terror – followers of Robespierre and Marat, and members of local Jacobin clubs. The violence was perpetrated primarily by those whose relatives or associates had been victims of the Great Terror, or whose lives and livelihoods had been threatened by the government and its supporters before the Thermidorean Reaction. Principally these were, in Paris, the Muscadins, and in the countryside, monarchists, supporters of the Girondins, those who opposed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and those otherwise hostile to the Jacobin political agenda. The Great Terror had been largely an organised political programme, based on laws such as the Law of 22 Prairial, and enacted through official institutions such as the Revolutionary Tribunal, but the White Terror was essentially a series of uncoordinated attacks by local activists who shared common perspectives but no central organisation. In particular locations, there were however more organised counter-revolutionary movements such as the Companions of Jehu in Lyon and the Companions of the Sun in Provence. The name 'White Terror' derives from the white cockades worn in the hats of royalists.
The Reign of Terror ended on 9 Thermidor Year II (27 July 1794) when Robespierre and his associates were overthrown. However there was not an immediate reaction to his rule, and for many months an unstable political climate prevailed before a new order emerged. In Paris, there were increasing attacks on sans-culottes by Muscadins, and there were attacks on Jacobins in Lyons and Nimes in February 1795. However only when a number of conditions changed did anti-Jacobin forces feel sufficiently confident to escalate these attacks into a full-scale White Terror.
Politically, the Thermidorean Reaction did not remove from power all those who had been involved in the Reign of Terror – indeed some of the most feared Terrorists, including Jean-Baptiste Carrier and Joseph Fouché had been involved in overthrowing Robespierre, largely because they feared him calling them to account. It took a period of several months before all of the leading figures associated with the Reign of Terror were brought to trial or removed from power.
Economically, there were food shortages as a result of a hard winter in 1794-5 and the assignat currency collapsed. The harvest of 1794 was poor, particularly in the areas which supplied Paris and in many northern areas people were reduced to consuming seed during the winter. Further south, rivers remained iced over and roads remained impassible in the spring, hindering trade and raising local prices. The assignat fell from 31% of its face value in August 1794 to 24% in November, 17% in February and 8% in April 1795. In Paris, hunger and desperation led to the Germinal uprising of April 1795.
Militarily, the National Convention was fighting the Chouannerie rebellion in western France until December 1794. The Treaty of La Jaunaye which ended the rebellion allowed the return of non-juring priests  The agreement ended the direct military emergency facing the Republic and weakened the standing of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.
The White Terror spread throughout the country, with some regions claiming not to have been disgraced by the Reign of Terror and others believing that there had to be significant retributions. Individuals accused as terrorists were then put on trial and executed. Overall, the severity of the reactions to the Reign of Terror were dependent on how each region was involved in the Revolution and on that region's specific history. Lists of those persecuted, as well as existing judicial and police records, indicate that a strong majority of accusations made did not arise from actions during the Reign of Terror at all but rather from personal or regional grudges.
Philippe-Antoine Dorfeuille (1 December 1754 – murdered 4 May 1795) was an 18th-century French actor, playwright, great traveller and revolutionary.Barbentane
Barbentane is a French commune of the Bouches-du-Rhône department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southern France.
The inhabitants of the commune are known as Barbentanais or Barbentanaises.Federalist revolts
The Federalist revolts were uprisings that broke out in various parts of France in the summer of 1793, during the French Revolution. They were prompted by resentments in France’s provincial cities about increasing centralisation of power in Paris, and increasing radicalisation of political authority in the hands of the Jacobins. In most of the country the trigger for uprising was the exclusion of the Girondins from the Convention after the Insurrection of 31 May – 2 June 1793. Although they shared common origins and political objectives, the revolts were not centrally organised or well-coordinated. The revolts failed to win any sustained popular support and were put down by the armies of the Convention over the following months. The Reign of Terror was then imposed across France to punish those associated with them and to enforce Jacobin ideology.Jean-Antoine Courbis
Jean-Antoine Courbis (28 January 1752, Tournon - 11 May 1795, Nîmes) was a French lawyer and revolutionary.List of political groups in the French Revolution
During the French Revolution (1789–1799), multiple differing political groups, clubs, organisations and militias arose, which could often be further subdivided into rival factions. Every group had its own ideas about what the goals of the Revolution were and which course France (and surrounding countries) should follow. They struggled to carry out these plans at the cost of other groups. Various kinds of groups played an important role, such as citizens' clubs, parliamentarians, governmental institutions and paramilitary movements.
Society of the Friends of the Blacks: an abolitionist pressure group founded in 1788 by Jacques Pierre Brissot (later also the leader of the Girondins) just before the Revolution broke out. Although early revolutionaries would officially denounce slavery, this declaration was initially of little practical consequence. Not until the Haitian Revolution broke out in August 1791 did French politicians begin to seriously consider the factual abolition of slavery, which was eventually legislated on 4 February 1794. The gens de couleur libres (manumitted slaves) had already been granted civil rights on 4 April 1792.
Royalists: the term most commonly given to a wide range of supporters of the Ancien Régime who sought to reverse most changes of the Revolution and restore the royal House of Bourbon and the Catholic Church to its pre-1789 authority. Some armed themselves and formed rebel armies, especially in Western France, under the name of Catholic and Royal Army (also called Chouans, see also the Chouannerie), the most important battleground being the War in the Vendée (1793–1796). Others fled France as émigrés, some of whom would also arm themselves and form the Armée des Émigrés (1792–1814), who together with the troops of the First Coalition and Second Coalition sought to bring down the French Republic and restore the Bourbon monarchy.
Jacobins (originally the Society of Friends of the Constitution, but better known by their home base in the old Dominican convent of Saint Jacques, hence the name Jacobins; since 1792 officially Society of Jacobins): revolutionary club originally consisting of Breton delegates to the National Constituent Assembly founded in June 1789, which soon grew and branched out across France and welcomed non-parliamentarians as members starting in October. Due to the expensive membership fee, the club remained elitist, initially shifting to the right. In Spring 1790, the radical leftist Cordeliers seceded and then in July 1791 the right-wing Feuillants also split themselves off. Together with the Cordeliers, the Jacobin left-wing would eventually come to be known as The Mountain while the right-wing of the Jacobins would become known as the Girondins. From 1790 onwards, Maximilien Robespierre would become increasingly dominant within the Jacobin Club and from July 1793 until July 1794 use it as his powerbase for the Reign of Terror, arresting and executing the leaders of both Cordelier factions, namely the radical leftist Hébertists (March 1794) as well as the centre-left Dantonists (April 1794). After the Fall of Maximilien Robespierre, the National Convention closed the Jacobin Club on 12 November 1794.
Monarchiens (officially the Friends of the Monarchial Constitution, also Monarchial Club): club of centre-right revolutionary monarchists founded in December 1789 by Jean Joseph Mounier. They merged with the Feuillants in 1791.
Society of 1789 (also known as the Patriotic Society of 1789): club of moderate conservative constitutional monarchists founded in May 1790. They merged with the Feuillants in 1791.
Cordeliers (officially the Society of the Friends of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, but better known by their home base in the old Franciscan Cordeliers Convent, hence Cordeliers): radical-leftist club which split from the Jacobins in the spring of 1790 under the leadership of Georges Danton and Camille Desmoulins. Together with the radical left Jacobins, they constituted The Mountain in Parliament. Until his assassination on 13 July 1793, radical demagogue Jean-Paul Marat played an important role as well. Thereafter, the club was taken over by the Hébertists of Jacques Hébert. Shortly after the execution of the Hébertists leaders by Robespierre on 24 March 1794, the Cordeliers Club was closed down.
Feuillants (official the Society of the Friends of the Constitution): club of centre-right constitutional monarchists who held the majority in parliament during the Legislative Assembly era (October 1791–September 1792). They split from the Jacobins on 16 July 1791 and disappeared after the Storming of the Tuileries (10 August 1792). Although enemies of the Ancien Régime, they also opposed democracy. They maintained that the establishment of the constitutional monarchy on 3 September 1791 had meant the French Revolution had achieved its goal and should be finished.
Girondins (named after the Gironde department, where many of its prominent members came from; initially they were also called Brissotins after their leader Jacques Pierre Brissot): faction of liberal republicans who were primarily supported by the wealthy bourgeoisie from Southern and Western France. They consisted of the right-wing of the Jacobins and were staunch defenders of the rights of man and popular sovereignty against a centralised state governed from Paris. The Girondins desired to export the Revolution to the rest of Europe and therefore urged on war with Austria and Prussia (20 April 1792). They played a central role in the fall of the monarchy (21 September 1792) and the execution of the deposed king, Louis XVI (21 January 1793). Faced by the rise of The Mountain, the Girondins showed increasingly royalist tendencies in the spring of 1793. They were overthrown by the Montagnard insurrection of 31 May – 2 June 1793 and their leaders were guillotined.
The Plain (La Plaine), also pejoratively known as The Marsh (Le Marais) or Maraisards (Marsh-dwellers), was a container term for a large group of parliamentarians who held middle-ground views and inside the National Convention were seated on the lowest benches. Ideologically, they were most closely affiliated with the Girondins, but they barely dared to speak out against the radical Montagnards.
The Mountain (La Montagne, also called the Montagnards, literally Mountain-dwellers, because they were seated on the highest benches in Parliament): grouping of radical and leftist politicians in the Legislative Assembly and National Convention (1792–1795). Their members came from the clubs of the Cordeliers and the left-wing of the Jacobins and sought to establish a radical-democratic republic centrally governed from Paris. From June 1793 until July 1794, the Montagnards dominated French politics and the Reign of Terror was conducted under the leadership of Robespierre. Notably after their takeover in June 1793, The Mountain can be thought of as consisting of three rival factions that vied for control, namely the Hébertists (radical leftist Cordeliers), the Dantonists (moderate and more right-wing Cordeliers) and in between them Robespierre and his Jacobin followers (who together are sometimes called Robespierrists).
Hébertists: radical left-wing of The Mountain primarily made up of Cordeliers. They are named for their leader Jacques Hébert and were outspoken atheists, anti-Christians and republicans. They invented the Cult of Reason as an alternative Enlightened worldview to replace all religions. On 13 March 1794, the Hébertist leaders were arrested and they were executed on 24 March by the order of Robespierre.
Dantonists: right-wing of The Mountain. They are named after their leader Georges Danton, a cofounder of the Cordeliers Club and from April until July 1793 the de facto head of the French government. After Robespierre seized power, Danton (who reconciled with Catholicism) and his allies tried to moderate and stabilise the Revolution. However, this brought them into conflict with the radical leftist Hébertists who wished to push the Revolution even further. Robespierre had the Dantonist leaders (including Danton himself and Camille Desmoulins) arrested on 30 March 1794 and executed on 5 April 1794.
Thermidorians: a group of Montagnards who conspired against Robespierre's regime and staged a coup d'état on 27 July 1794 (9 Thermidor Year II), known as the Thermidorian Reaction, which overthrew Robespierre and saw him and his associates executed two days later. As moderate republicans, the Thermidorians tried to calm down the Revolution and closed most Jacobin clubs across France. These events triggered the right-wing royalist and anti-revolutionary First White Terror, especially aimed against Montagnards and Jacobins in the Rhône valley and southern Brittany. However, a royalist coup d'état on 13 Vendémiaire (5 October 1795) was crushed by general Napoleon Bonaparte. With the Constitution of the Year III, the Thermidorians established the Directory as the executive power (replacing Robespierre's Committee of Public Safety) and replaced the National Convention by the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of Ancients, as the bicameral legislative power.Muscadin
The term Muscadin (French: [myskadɛ̃]), meaning "wearing musk perfume", came to refer to mobs of young men, relatively well-off and dressed in a dandyish manner, who were the street fighters of the Thermidorian Reaction in Paris in the French Revolution. After the coup against Robespierre and the Jacobins of 9 Thermidor Year II, or 27 July 1794, they took on the remaining Jacobins and sans-culottes, and largely succeeded in suppressing them over the next year or two. In prints they are often seen carrying large wooden clubs, which they liked to call "constitutions". They were supposedly organized by the politician and journalist Louis-Marie Stanislas Fréron, and eventually numbered 2,000-3,000. They in fact seem to have mostly consisted of the lower middle classes, the sons of "minor officials and small shopkeepers", and were quietly encouraged by the shaky new government, who had good reason to fear Jacobin mobs, and wider unrest as the hard winter of 1794-5 saw increasing hunger among the Parisian working class. The Muscadins are considered to be part of the First White Terror in response to the preceding Reign of Terror of the Jacobins.
The "jeunesse dorée" came to have a considerable influence on the National Convention, and after the Jacobin revolt of 12 Germinal, Year III (April 1, 1795), are held to have forced the arrest of the four main "ringleaders" remaining from the Jacobin regime: Bertrand Barère, Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois and Jacques Nicolas Billaud-Varenne, who were all threatened with transportation to French Guiana (though only the latter two were eventually sent there). After they had succeeded in suppressing the sans-culottes, their usefulness to the government was over, and they began to pose a threat. After the "whiff of grapeshot" in the crisis of 13 Vendémiaire they ceased to be a significant factor in Parisian politics.Revolutionary Tribunal
The Revolutionary Tribunal (French: Tribunal révolutionnaire; unofficially Popular Tribunal) was a court instituted by the National Convention during the French Revolution for the trial of political offenders. It eventually became one of the most powerful engines of the Reign of Terror.Second White Terror
The Second White Terror occurred in France in 1815. Following the return of Louis XVIII to power, people suspected of having ties with the governments of the French Revolution or of Napoleon suffered arrest. Several hundred were killed by angry mobs, or executed after a quick trial at a drum head court-martial. Historian John B. Wolf argues that Ultra-royalists—many of whom had just returned from exile—were staging a counter-revolution against the French Revolution, and also against Napoleon's revolution.
Throughout the Midi — in Provence, Avignon, Languedoc, and many other places — the White Terror raged with unrelenting ferocity. The royalists found in the willingness of the French to desert the king fresh proof of their theory that the nation was honeycombed with traitors, and used every means to seek out and destroy their enemies. The government was powerless or unwilling to intervene.The period is named after the First White Terror that occurred during the French Revolution in 1795, when people identified as being associated with the Reign of Terror were harassed and killed.Timeline of the French Revolution
The following is a timeline of the French Revolution.White Terror
White Terror may refer to:
First White Terror (1794–1795), a movement against the French Revolution
Second White Terror (1815), a movement against the French Revolution
White Terror (Russia), mass violence carried out by opponents of the Soviet Government during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Civil War (1918–20)
White Terror (Bulgaria), the brutal suppression of the communist September insurgency in the Kingdom of Bulgaria (1923)
White Terror (Hungary), a two-year period (1919–1921) of repressive violence by counter-revolutionary soldiers
White Terror (Spain), atrocities committed by the Nationalist movement during the Spanish Civil War and during Francisco Franco's dictatorship
White Terror (mainland China), the period of political repression in China starting in 1927 by the Republic of China government
White Terror (Taiwan), the period of political repression in Taiwan starting in the 1940s by the Republic of China government
White Terror (Greece), persecution of the EAM-ELAS between the Treaty of Varkiza in February 1945 and the beginning of the Greek Civil War in March 1946
White Terror (Finland), violence of the white troops during and after the Finnish Civil War in 1918
The White Terror (film), a 1917 silent German film
White terrorism, xenophobic activity or terrorism by white Americans
Kenya: White Terror, a 2002 BBC documentary based on the work of Caroline Elkins