The Thermidorian Reaction was a counter revolution which took place in France on 9 Thermidor of the Year II (27 July 1794). On this day, the French politician Maximilien Robespierre was denounced by members of the National Convention as "a tyrant", leading to Robespierre and twenty-one associates including Louis Antoine de Saint-Just being arrested that night and beheaded on the following day.
|Part of the French Revolution|
Le IX thermidor an II by Charles Monnet
|Commanders and leaders|
|Unknown National Guards||c. 3,000 loyalists|
|Casualties and losses|
Various people were executed:
The name Thermidorian refers to 9 Thermidor Year II (27 July 1794), the date according to the French Republican Calendar when Robespierre and other radical revolutionaries came under concerted attack in the National Convention. Thermidorian Reaction also refers to the remaining period until the National Convention was superseded by the Directory; this is also sometimes called the era of the Thermidorian Convention. Prominent figures of Thermidor include Paul Barras, Jean-Lambert Tallien, and Joseph Fouché.
Thermidor represents the final throes of the Reign of Terror. With Robespierre the sole remaining strong-man of the Revolution following the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat (13 July 1793), and the executions of Jacques Hébert (24 March 1794), Georges Danton and Camille Desmoulins (5 April 1794), his apparently total grasp on power became in fact increasingly illusory, especially insofar as he seemed to have support from factions to his right.
His only real political power at this time lay in the Jacobin Club, which had extended itself beyond the borders of Paris and into the country as a network of "Popular Societies". In addition to widespread reaction to the Reign of Terror, Robespierre's tight personal control of the military, his distrust of military might and of banks, and his opposition to supposedly corrupt individuals in government, made him the subject of a number of conspiracies.
The prime mover for the events of 9 Thermidor (27 July) was a Montagnard conspiracy, led by Jean-Lambert Tallien and Bourdon de l'Oise, which was gradually coalescing, and was to come to pass at the time when the Montagnards had finally swayed the deputies of the Right over to their side. (Robespierre and Saint-Just were themselves Montagnards.)
Many others who conspired against Robespierre did so for strong practical and personal reasons, most notably self-preservation. The surviving Dantonists, such as Merlin de Thionville, wanted revenge for the death of Georges Danton and, more importantly, to protect their own heads. Among the latter were Joseph Fouché and Pierre-Louis Bentabole, who engineered Robespierre's downfall.
In the end, it was Robespierre himself who united all his enemies. On 8 Thermidor (26 July) he gave a speech to the Convention in which he railed against enemies and conspiracies, some within the powerful committees. As he did not give the names of "these traitors", all in the Convention had reason to fear that they were the targets. Later, he enlisted the support of the Jacobin Club, where he denounced Collot and Billaud. These men then spent the night planning the following day's coup, with other members of the convention.
Conspiracies against Maximilien Robespierre, who had dominated the Committee of Public Safety, came together on 9 Thermidor (27 July) 1794. On that day, in the Hall of Liberty in Paris, Saint-Just was in the midst of reading a report to the Committee of Public Safety when he was interrupted by Jean-Lambert Tallien, member and previously President of the National Convention, who impugned Saint-Just and then went on to denounce the tyranny of Robespierre. The attack was taken up by Jacques Nicolas Billaud-Varenne, also member and previously President of the National Convention, and Saint-Just's typical eloquence failed him, leaving him subject to a withering verbal assault until Robespierre leapt to the defense of Saint-Just and himself. Cries went up of "Down with the tyrant! Arrest him!" Robespierre then made his appeal to the deputies of the Right, "Deputies of the Right, men of honour, men of virtue, give me the floor, since the assassins will not." However, the Right was unmoved, and an order was made to arrest Robespierre and his followers.
Troops from the Paris Commune arrived to liberate the prisoners. The Commune troops, under General Jean-Baptiste Coffinhal, then marched against the Convention. The Convention responded by ordering troops of its own under Paul Barras to be called out. When the Commune's troops heard the news of this, order began to break down, and Hanriot ordered his remaining troops to withdraw to the Hôtel de Ville. Robespierre and his supporters also gathered at the Hôtel de Ville. The Convention declared them to be outlaws, meaning that upon verification the fugitives could be executed within 24 hours without a trial. As the night went on the Commune forces at the Hôtel de Ville deserted until none of them remained. The Convention troops under Barras approached the Hôtel around 2 a.m. on 28 July. As they came, Robespierre's brother Augustin leapt out of a window in an escape attempt, broke his legs, and was arrested. Le Bas committed suicide. Couthon, who due to progressive disease was paralysed from the waist down, was found lying at the bottom of a staircase.
Robespierre was shot in the face and his jaw was shattered. There are two accounts of how he received the wound. One states that, anticipating his own downfall and wanting to have the death of a hero, Robespierre attempted to kill himself and shattered his own jaw with a shot. The contrary view is that he was shot by one of the Convention's troops. At the time, a gendarme named Charles-André Merda claimed to have pulled the trigger.
Saint-Just made no attempt at suicide or concealment. Hanriot tried to hide in the Hôtel de Ville's yard, by some sources  after being thrown out a window into a stack of "latrine product" and hay, but the Convention troops quickly discovered him and assaulted him badly, gouging one of his eyes out so that it hung from its socket.
Robespierre was declared an outlaw and condemned without judicial process. The following day, 10 Thermidor (28 July 1794), he was executed with twenty-one of his closest associates, including the following:
The events of 9 Thermidor proved a watershed in the revolutionary process. The Thermidorian regime that followed proved to be an unpopular one, facing many rebellions after its execution of Robespierre and his allies, along with seventy members of the Paris Commune, the largest mass execution to have ever taken place in Paris. This led to a very fragile situation in France.
The hostility toward Robespierre did not just vanish with his execution. Instead, the people decided to blame those who were involved with Robespierre in any way, namely the many members of the Jacobin club, their supporters, and individuals suspected of being past revolutionaries. The massacre of these groups became known as the White Terror, and was partially carried out by the Muscadin, a group of dandyish street fighters organized by the new government.
Often, members of these targeted groups were the victims of prison massacres or put on trial without due process, which were overall similar conditions to those provided to the counter-revolutionaries during the Reign of Terror. At the same time, its economic policies paved the way for rampant inflation. Ultimately, power devolved to the hands of the Directory, an executive of five men who assumed power in France in November 1795 (in year III of the French Revolutionary calendar).
The Thermidorian regime excluded the remaining Montagnards from power, even those who had joined in conspiring against Robespierre and Saint-Just. The White Terror of 1795 resulted in numerous imprisonments and several hundred executions, almost exclusively of people on the political left. These numbers, while significant, were considerably smaller than those associated with the previous Reign of Terror, which killed over 40,000. Many executions took place without a trial.
As part of the reorganization of French politics, practitioners of the terror were called to defend their records; some such as Tallien, Barras, Fouché and Fréron rejoined the leadership. Others such as Billaud-Varenne, Collot d’Herbois, Barère and Vadier were sentenced to exile in South America, though the latter two managed to evade arrest. Many Jacobin clubs were closed. Freedom of worship was extended first to the Vendée and later to all France. On 24 December 1794 the Maximum (controls on prices and wages) was abolished. The government exacerbated this inflationary move by issuing more assignats.
In April and May 1795, protests and riots in support of the radicals broke out culminating in an invasion of the Convention by an insurrectionist mob on 20 May. On 22 May the Convention struck back, having troops under Pichegru surround the Faubourg St-Antoine and force the capitulation of the armed rebels. In May and June 1795, a "White Terror" raged in which Jacobins were victims and the judges were bourgeois "Moderates". Throughout France the events of the September Massacres were repeated, however this time the victims were imprisoned officials of the Terror. In Paris, Royalist sentiments were openly tolerated.
Meanwhile, French armies overran the Netherlands and established the Batavian Republic, occupied the left bank of the Rhine and forced Spain, Prussia and several German States to sue for peace, enhancing the prestige of the Convention. A new constitution called the Constitution of the Year III was drawn up on 22 August 1795, which eased back some of the democratic elements of the constitution of 1793, establishing an electoral college for the election of officials, a bicameral legislature and other provisions designed to protect the current holders of power. On 5 October (13 Vendémiaire), a revolt led by Royalists challenged the Convention. It was put down by Napoleon with a whiff of grapeshot. On 25 October the Convention declared itself dissolved and was replaced by the French Directory on 2 November 1795.
For historians of revolutionary movements, the term Thermidor has come to mean the phase in some revolutions when power slips from the hands of the original revolutionary leadership and a radical regime is replaced by a more conservative regime, sometimes to the point where the political pendulum may swing back towards something resembling a pre-revolutionary state. In his book The Revolution Betrayed, Leon Trotsky alleges the rise of Joseph Stalin to power was a Soviet Thermidor.
Claude-François de Payan (4 May 1766, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux - 28 July 1794, Paris) was a political figure of the French Revolution.
He was guillotined 28 July 1794 with 21 others during the Thermidorian Reaction, including Saint-Just and Robespierre.Cordeliers
The Society of the Friends of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (French: Société des Amis des droits de l'homme et du citoyen), mainly known as Cordeliers Club (French: Club des Cordeliers), was a populist club during the French Revolution from 1790 to 1794, when the Reign of Terror ended and the Thermidorian Reaction began.Eikou no Napoleon – Eroica
Eroica - The Glory of Napoleon (栄光のナポレオン – エロイカ, Eikō no Naporeon - Eroika) is a manga by Riyoko Ikeda that is the official sequel to The Rose of Versailles.
It tells the story of Napoleon's empire, including the Thermidorian Reaction, the Italian Campaign, the Egyptian Campaign, the Battle of the Nile, the coup of 18 Brumaire, and the French invasion of Russia.
It also includes some characters from the prequel manga, like Alain de Soissons, Bernard Chatelet, and Rosalie Lamorlière.François René Mallarmé
François-René-Auguste Mallarmé (25 February 1755 – 25 July 1835) was a French statesman of the French Revolution and a supporter of Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Empire. His career is of particular interest because he was among political figures such as Joseph Fouché who at first aggressively supported the Terror, only to betray its leaders (including Maximilien Robespierre) and support the various conservative reactionary régimes that followed. His was a chevalier de l'Empire from 22 November 1808 and a baron de l'Empire from 31 January 1810.French Constitution of 1793
The Constitution of 1793 (French: Acte constitutionnel du 24 juin 1793), also known as the Constitution of the Year I or the Montagnard Constitution, was the second constitution ratified for use during the French Revolution under the First Republic. Designed by the Montagnards, principally Maximilien Robespierre and Louis Saint-Just, it was intended to replace the outdated Constitution of 1791. With sweeping plans for democratization and wealth redistribution, the new document promised a significant departure from the relatively moderate goals of the Revolution in previous years.
However, the Constitution's radical provisions were never implemented. The government placed a moratorium upon it, ostensibly because of the need to employ emergency war powers during the French Revolutionary War. Those same emergency powers would permit the Committee of Public Safety to conduct the Reign of Terror, and when that long period of violent political combat was over, the constitution was invalidated by its association with the defeated Robespierre. In the Thermidorian Reaction, it was discarded in favor of a more conservative document, the Constitution of 1795.French First Republic
In the history of France, the First Republic (French: Première République), officially the French Republic (République française), was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times. This period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, and, finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power.Insurrection of 12 Germinal, Year III
The insurrection of 12 Germinal Year III was a popular revolt in Paris on 1 April 1795 against the policies of the Thermidorian Convention. It was provoked by poverty and hunger resulting from the abandonment of the controlled economy after dismantling of the Revolutionary Government during Thermidorian Reaction.Jean Baptiste Noël Bouchotte
Jean Baptiste Noël Bouchotte (25 December 1754 – 8 June 1840) was a minister in the French government. He was born in Metz.
At the outbreak of the Revolution he was a captain of cavalry, and his zeal led to his being made colonel and given the command at Cambrai. When Dumouriez delivered up to the Austrians the minister of war, the marquis de Beurnonville, in April 1793, Bouchotte, who had bravely defended Cambrai, was called by the Convention to be minister of war, where he remained until 31 March 1794.
The predominant rôle of the Committee of Public Safety during that period did not leave much scope for the new minister, yet he rendered some services in the organization of the republican armies, and chose his officers with insight, among them Kléber, Masséna, Moreau and Bonaparte.
During the Thermidorian reaction, in spite of his incontestable honesty, he was accused by the anti-revolutionists. He was tried by the tribunal of the Eure-et-Loir and acquitted. Then he withdrew from politics, and lived in retirement until his death.Joseph Cange
Joseph Cange (Saarbourg, 19 September 1753 - ?) was a minor figure of the French Revolution.
Cange was born to the family of a peasant. He went on to serve as a clerk at Prison Saint-Lazare during the Reign of Terror.
One day, he was sent to the wife and children of a prisoner, Monsieur George; moved by their miserable condition, he shared his money with them, claiming that the funds were sent by the prisoner. George was freed at the Thermidorian Reaction and investigated to find the benefactor, eventually identifying Cange.
The story came public, written into a play by Michel-Jean Sedaine, and reported before the National Convention, where the President declared "We applaud to Cange's generosity. We like the virtue that characterises him".Cange became a popular figure, having his portrait made by Pierre-Nicolas Legrand de Lérant and four theatre plays written after the story.Louis Héron
François Louis Julien Simon Héron (1746 in Saint Lunaire–1796 in Versailles) was a French revolutionary, an agent of the Committee of General Security.
He arrested a number of people, including Pierre Henri Hélène Marie Lebrun-Tondu.
He was arrested himself during the Thermidorian Reaction, freed under the amnesty of the Year 4, and died in obscurity.Madame Georges Anthony and Her Two Sons
Madame Georges Anthony and Her Two Sons is a 1796 oil on canvas group portrait by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, now in the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, which acquired it in 1892.
Two years earlier he had fled Paris to escape the Thermidorian Reaction following Robespierre's fall. He took refuge in a family home at Rigny near Gray occupied by the postmaster Georges Anthony, his wife Louise (née Demandre) and their children. As a thank-you for their hospitality, Prud'hon painted this work and a portrait of Georges beside a horse (musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon), both completed in 1796, the year he left their home. During the restoration of the musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon in 2016 the paintings were briefly reunited in Lyon.Modérantisme
During the French Revolution, modérantisme (French: [mɔdeʁɑ̃tism]) or the faction des modérés (faction of the moderates) was the name the Montagnards gave to their relatively more moderate opponents, first the Girondins and then the Dantonists. Modérantisme was denounced before the Jacobin and the Cordeliers clubs, who then led the first attacks on it in 1794.
Jacobin and Cordelier orators soon demanded that the guillotine be used against those they saw as trying to stop the Revolution. One day, Carrier shouted "The monsters! They want to break down the scaffolds - but, citizens, never forget, those who want no guillotines are those who should feel that they are worthy of the guillotine!". Camille Desmoulins, who came to found the newspaper le Vieux Cordelier in which he begged for clemency with Georges Danton's consent, from then on laid himself open to their hatred and vengeance.
On 5 April 1794, the leaders of the moderate party were guillotined and modérantisme was returned to power after Maximilien Robespierre's fall and its turn was to once again hold sway against the Montagnards who still supported Robespierre, with the Thermidorian Reaction done in the name of modérantisme. The crimes committed in Le Midi were also committed by men who claimed the title of modérés, though this did not stop them carrying out excessive acts of violence.Moyse Bayle
Moyse Antoine Pierre Jean Bayle (16 July 1755, in Chêne – between 1812 and 1815) was a French politician of the French Revolution.Reactionary
In political science, a reactionary is a person who holds political views that favour a return to the status quo ante, the previous political state of society, which he or she believes possessed characteristics (economic prosperity, justice, individual ownership, discipline, respect for authority, etc.) that are negatively absent from the contemporary status quo of a society. As an adjective, the word reactionary describes points of view and policies meant to restore the status quo ante.Political reactionaries are predominantly found on the right-wing of a political spectrum, though left-wing reactionaries exist as well. Reactionary ideologies can also be radical, in the sense of political extremism, in service to re-establishing the status quo ante. In political discourse, being a reactionary is generally regarded as negative; the descriptor "political reactionary" has been adopted by the likes of the Austrian monarchist Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, the Scottish journalist Gerald Warner of Craigenmaddie, the Colombian political theologian Nicolás Gómez Dávila, and the American historian John Lukacs.Reign of Terror
The Reign of Terror, or The Terror (French: la Terreur), is the label given by most historians to a period during the French Revolution after the First French Republic was established.
Several historians consider the "reign of terror" to have begun in 1793, placing the starting date at either 5 September, June or March (birth of the Revolutionary Tribunal), while some consider it to have begun in September 1792 (September Massacres), or even July 1789 (when the first lynchings took place), but there is a consensus that it ended with the fall of Maximilien Robespierre in July 1794.Between June 1793 and the end of July 1794, there were 16,594 official death sentences in France, of which 2,639 were in Paris.Sans-culottes
The sans-culottes (French: [sɑ̃kylɔt], literally "without breeches") were the common people of the lower classes in late 18th century France, a great many of whom became radical and militant partisans of the French Revolution in response to their poor quality of life under the Ancien Régime. The name sans-culottes refers to their clothing, and through that to their lower-class status: culottes were the fashionable silk knee-breeches of the 18th-century nobility and bourgeoisie, and the working class sans-culottes wore pantaloons, or trousers, instead. The sans-culottes, most of them urban labourers, served as the driving popular force behind the revolution. Though ill-clad and ill-equipped, they made up the bulk of the Revolutionary army during the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars.The most fundamental political ideals of the sans-culottes were social equality, economic equality, and popular democracy. They supported the abolition of all the authority and privileges of the monarchy, nobility, and Roman Catholic clergy, the establishment of fixed wages, the implementation of price controls to ensure affordable food and other essentials, and vigilance against counter-revolutionaries. The height of their influence spanned roughly from the original overthrow of the monarchy in 1792 to the Thermidorian Reaction in 1794. Throughout the revolution, the sans-culottes provided the principal support behind the more radical and anti-bourgeoisie factions of the Paris Commune, such as the Enragés and the Hébertists, and were led by populist revolutionaries such as Jacques Roux and Jacques Hébert. The sans-culottes also populated the ranks of paramilitary forces charged with physically enforcing the policies and legislation of the revolutionary government, a task that commonly included violence and the carrying out of executions against perceived enemies of the revolution.
During the peak of their influence, the sans-culottes were seen as the truest and most authentic sons of the French Revolution, held up as living representations of the revolutionary spirit. During the height of revolutionary fervor, such as during the Reign of Terror when it was dangerous to be associated with anything counter-revolutionary, even public functionaries and officials actually from middle or upper-class backgrounds adopted the clothing and label of the sans-culottes as a demonstration of solidarity with the working class and patriotism for the new French Republic.But by early 1794, as the bourgeois and middle class elements of the revolution began to gain more political influence, the fervent working class radicalism of the sans-culottes rapidly began falling out of favor within the National Convention. It wasn't long before Maximilien de Robespierre and his now dominant Jacobin Club turned against the radical factions of the National Convention, including the sans-culottes, despite their having previously been the strongest supporters of the revolution and its government. Several important leaders of the Enragés and Hébertists were imprisoned and executed by the very revolutionary tribunals they had supported. The execution of radical leader Jacques Hébert spelled the decline of the sans-culottes, and with the successive rise of even more conservative governments, the Thermidorian Convention and the French Directory, they were definitively silenced as a political force. After the defeat of the 1795 popular revolt in Paris, the sans-culottes ceased to play any effective political role in France until the July Revolution of 1830.The Plain
The Plain (French: La Plaine), better known as The Marsh (French: Le Marais), was a political group in the French National Convention during the French Revolution. Its members were known as Maraisards, or derogatory Toads (French: Crapauds) as toads live in marshes. They sat between the Girondists' right-wing and Montagnards' left-wing. None of these three groups was an organized party as is known today. The Mountain and the Girondists did consist of individuals with similar views and agendas who socialized together and often coordinated political plans. However, The Plain consisted of delegates that did not belong to either of these two groups and as such was even more amorphous. The Plain constituted the majority of delegates to the Convention and would vote with either the Girondists or Mountain depending on the issue at hand, the current circumstances and mood of the Convention. They initially sided with the Girondists, but later backed the Mountain in executing Louis XVI and inaugurating the Terror. They later abandoned the Mountain, inaugurating the Thermidorian Reaction.The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel
The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel, first published in 1922, is a book in the series about the Scarlet Pimpernel's adventures by Baroness Orczy. Again Orczy interweaves historic fact with fiction, this time through the real life figures of Thérésa Cabarrus, and Jean-Lambert Tallien; inserting the Scarlet Pimpernel as an instigator of the role Tallien played in the Thermidorian Reaction in July 1794.Thermidor (disambiguation)
Thermidor was a month in the French Republican Calendar.
Thermidor (play) is a dramatic play by the 19th-century French playwright Victorien Sardou, named after the month.
Lobster Thermidor is a French dish made of lobster, named after the play.
The Thermidorian Reaction or 9 Thermidor was a revolt in the French Revolution.
Thérésa Tallien was called Notre-Dame du Thermidor.
Thermidor Records is a defunct record label founded by Joe Carducci.
A competitive robot in Robot Wars as Thermidor 2.