What event meant the Thermidor coup in France? Reasons
The French history of the late eighteenth century is filled with a series of bloody events and coups. The revolutionary movement so overwhelmed the country that some of its leaders quickly succeeded others who were sent to the block as the members of the royal family once knew. Of particular importance in this period was the Thermidorian coup. In France, this event was a key moment that completely changed the course of the revolution and had a serious impact on the country's subsequent history. Today we will tell you about the causes and significance of this conspiracy. And also we will gradually consider the Thermidorian coup itself and call it ideological inspirers.
Thermidor: a brief statement
In the history of France, the Thermidorist coup called a conspiracy that developed into an uprising on July 28, 1974, which led to the fall of the power of the Jacobins.The French themselves often speak of this event as Thermidor, which is also historically correct.
The insurgency received its name thanks to the month in which it was carried out. The fact is that in revolutionary France an absolutely new chronology was introduced. July became known as "Thermidor", and it was the eleventh month of the year. Interestingly, later on, any counter-revolutionary uprising was referred to as "Thermidor". Even Russian revolutionaries used this wording.
Drawing conclusions from the foregoing, it can be argued that the Thermidorian coup called the destruction of the Jacobin dictatorship and the transition to a new conservative stage, which often see the end of the revolution in the form in which it originated.
The French Revolution
Before we tell you what event meant the Thermidorian coup, we must briefly describe the revolutionary situation in the country that preceded the conspiracy of spring and summer of 1794.
In the eighteenth century, France was considered an absolute monarchy, where the king played a major role in government.However, during this period, despite a series of reforms, the country's population began to turn increasingly to the idea of the need for radical changes that would have brought the state to a completely new stage of development. The people were outraged by the harassment by the authorities, the bourgeoisie was aware of the economic decline that had hit their wallet significantly, and the lag behind other European countries was becoming more and more noticeable.
A distinctive feature of the Great French Revolution is the frequent change of regimes and leaders. Historians claim that its beginning can be considered the capture of the Bastille in July of the eighty-ninth year of the eighteenth century, but this bloody leapfrog lasted for almost ten years. That is, after the Thermidorian coup, which will be discussed in further sections of the article, for another five years in France there was no stability and peace.
The great French revolution became one of the most dramatic periods in the country's history, but it was she who laid the democratic foundations on which French society still relies.
Control system of the country in the spring of 1794
In the period of the First French Republic, the biggest problem for revolutionaries who came to power was the formation of an effective legislative and executive power. It took quite a lot of time and only by the spring of ninety-fourth year there appeared a clear distribution of powers, which allowed to govern the country in an emergency situation.
The supreme body was the Convention, with legislative and executive functions. The execution of his decrees was followed by numerous committees, which were elected bodies. The composition of deputies changed monthly, it was only approved by the Convention. Most decisions were made through a general vote.
The Committee of Public Rescue had a special influence, which, in essence, assumed the functions of executive power. Practically everything that happened in the country fell under his jurisdiction. It is worth noting that it was this Committee that rather severely suppressed the protests of the disgruntled new authorities and any attempts to revolt against the Jacobins who ruled the country.
On the eve of the Thermidor coup in the Committee, significant differences arose,especially much talk caused the growing influence of Robespierre, whom many considered not the most worthy figure of the revolutionary movement. He was given the nickname Incorrigible, but members of the government more than once accused him of lust for power, cruelty and the desire to establish a sole dictatorship. This, in turn, led to several attempts at Robespierre. However, this fact only strengthened the significance of the Incorruptible.
France on the eve of the coup
Surprisingly, by the Thermidor coup in France, the most favorable and tranquil situation had developed over the past five years. First of all, this concerned the Jacobin dictatorship, which strengthened its position by getting rid of all opposition groups within the state. Significant shifts were also observed in foreign policy. The army quite successfully proved itself in the military spring campaign. Victories were accompanied by battles on the territory of Spain, routes to Belgium were opened, and serious resistance to the Austrian and Prussian troops was rendered. For the first time, both sides began to talk about peace.
Overcame France and the period of famine.Gradually, food supplies to major cities of the country were adjusted. It was supplied by countries that took a neutral attitude towards the situation in France. The Jacobins understood that it was necessary to establish contacts with merchants and industrialists. To this end, taxation was slightly reduced and a number of subsidies for the development of production were provided. Also supported by the government and the military industry. However, one should not forget about the problem of social reforms and guarantees, which the Jacobins simply could not solve. They did not fulfill any of their promises regarding the working class, suffering from the depreciation of money and the inability to somehow defend their interests in society.
In parallel, the Jacobin government tried to completely destroy the former religious and moral views of the French. Gradually, the cult of a certain Supreme Being was introduced, characterized by a series of holidays. Although many people in the country were not in a hurry to embrace new traditions that had nothing to do with their previous foundations.
It can be said that by the spring of 1794 the situation reigned in the country, which seemed outwardly quite stable and prosperous.But the main problems of society were not resolved; this required global transformations that could be implemented within a multi-faceted program.
Thermidorian coup: reasons
Historians have long revealed the main reasons that led to the conspiracy against the Jacobins and their dictatorship:
- the removal of grain from the peasants throughout the country to feed the revolutionaries who are building the new state in the cities of France;
- setting the maximum for many essential goods, which prevented traders from earning money;
- the maximum wage did not allow workers to earn enough to feed their families;
- terror against suspicious persons who could be executed on the spot without trial (literally in one month more than a thousand people were executed);
- the neglect of the interests of the bourgeoisie, which represents a rather significant stratum of society that actively sought power.
Each item from this list served to cause increased popular unrest. Therefore, the most favorable conditions for a conspiracy against the existing government were created.
In April 1794, a coalition of Robspierre dissatisfied with the regime began to form among the deputies of the Convention. Gradually, the seeds of insurgency penetrated to the very top of the government.
In late May, a prominent political figure, Laurent Lecuntre, with the help of his assistants, compiled a document listing all the atrocities of Robespierre. The list ended with a call to kill the dictator. This slogan found a response in the hearts of the opposition: two unsuccessful attempts were made on the life of the Incorrigible.
Summer was the beginning of an open confrontation between Robespierre and his opponents, led by Lecuants. The latter has already openly insulted the Incorruptible and threatened him. An increasing number of people joined this movement. However, Robespierre was already aware of the situation and took a number of measures that were supposed to protect him. For the Convention, he made a special decree according to which the enemies of the existing regime could be punished without trial. They were allowed to be executed on the spot, which was fine with Robespierre, who was ready to defend the established dictatorship by any means.However, the document provoked tough resistance in the Convention and the Committee of Public Safety. The deputies were afraid that this decree would also affect them, because many people by this time had already become participants in the conspiracy. Surprisingly, the decree did bypass the resistance and was adopted. Robespierre received a powerful lever with which he began to purge and mass executions in the cities. The struggle against dictatorship and terror has entered a new phase.
On the eve of the uprising
With the adoption of a decree on terror, opponents of Robespierre began to speak out more strictly and unceremoniously at committee meetings. They could even allow open confrontation with supporters of the Incorruptible: Saint-Just and Couton. These two were the main pillar of Robespierre and universally defended his interests. Even after he stopped taking part in the meetings of the Public Rescue Committee, they continued to speak, lobbying for his projects and ideas.
Gradually, conspirators became more and more, they were forced into hiding, but everyone understood that this tense situation could not soon lead to armed clashes with people loyal to Robespierre.One of the leaders of the uprising was Fouche, who, being a clever politician and eloquent speaker, inclined the members of the Convention to his side. By July, he succeeded: one part openly declared its sympathy for the conspirators, and the other insisted that she would support the insurgency if necessary.
Start of coup
On July 26, Maximilien Robespierre decided to embark on a real battle with the rebels. Many historians consider this day to be the beginning of the Thermidorian coup, whose grindstones ground up the Jacobin dictatorship. Robespierre prepared an ornate speech with which he spoke at the Convention. He ardently denounced the conspirators, calling the state structures affected by the rebellion, as well as the names of several leaders of the opposition movement. At the end of his speech, the Jacobin called for the destruction of his opponents, which was almost unanimously supported by the deputies. Surprisingly, all those who sympathized with the conspirators, yielding to the unprecedented eloquence of Robespierre, were ready to vote for the printing of this diatribe and sending it to all corners of France. At this point, the plot was almost doomed to failure, but Cambon turned the tide. Without any fear of consequences, he spoke out against the dictator.This inspired the deputies of the Convention, and they supported the conspirators.
However, in the Jacobin club Robespierre was accepted with delight. Among the slogans began to appear demands to send all the rebels to the guillotine. Such a division in society could not last long. Someone had to strike a decisive blow.
Coup: Robespierre's arrest
After learning about the events in the Jacobin Club, the conspirators began to develop a plan of action. The next morning it was decided to do everything possible to arrest Robespierre and end the dictatorship.
On July 27, a huge number of people gathered at the Convention. Saint-Just was the first to take the floor and began to speak in favor of the current regime, but was rudely interrupted by Talien, who, together with his two associates, began an accusatory speech against Robespierre. The accused was not given the word, he could not even get through to the stands. Confusion reigned in the hall, the deputies shouted to each other and pushed, jumping from their seats. In this situation, a proposal to arrest Robespierre sounded like a bolt from the blue. After a second pause, it was fervently supported, and right in the hall of the Convention, three were taken into custody: Robespierre, Saint-Just, and Couton. The rebels triumphed.
Liberation of the leaders of the Jacobins
However, the people and the Commune did not want to give up their leader and began to gather in order to free him. The Jacobin Club also took to the streets to support the Incorruptible. At the same time, the poor and artisans were arming themselves, who by all means sought to preserve the old regime.
The surprise for the conspirators was the fact that the jailers did not accept the arrested Jacobins. And after some time the people freed them all. By evening, around three-odd thousand people rallied around Robespierre. But he did not manage to draw up a plan of action: people who were frozen and wet from the sudden downpour did not wait for the morning and went home. The initiative has been missed.
The final stage of the uprising
The rebels quickly took control of the situation. On the night of July 28, they armed their supporters and representatives of the bourgeoisie. They were joined by some military units. It was decided to attack the building where Robespierre and his supporters were hiding.
The rebels managed to infiltrate through the ranks of the defenders of the Incorrigible and burst into the room. Couthon was thrown off the ladder, and Maximilian Robespierre could not pull the trigger. The Jacobins were arrested.
Twenty-eight July twenty-two people were executed on the guillotine without a court, which corresponded to the decree, which was once Robespierre. Surprisingly, the brainchild destroyed its creator. The country lost its leader and embarked on a new, hitherto unknown path. The Thermidorian coup meant that the Jacobin dictatorship fell irrevocably, and the revolution assumed a completely different form.
Aftermath of the rebellion
As a result of the Thermidorian coup, people came to power who were not ready to fight for the ideas of humanism and build a new country. They dreamed of living in peace and prosperity with the money they had managed to acquire during the years of the revolution. Any mention of the Jacobins was considered outside the law, the new government sought to erase even the mention of this period.
Immediately after the coup, the Jacobin Club was dissolved, and the Commune was liquidated. The government in the capital established order, removed garbage from all the streets, and returned the residents the opportunity to enjoy walking around the city. Parisians rejoiced in order, which was carefully maintained, and street lighting completely changed the face of the French capital.
Thermidorian coup and the constitution of 1795
On the twenty-second of August, the new government adopted a constitution, which clearly distributed functions among the various organs. Its main points were the following nuances:
- electoral qualification;
- the legislature passed to two chambers (most of whose members were initially elected from the members of the Convention, which caused discontent with the Thermidorian coup);
- The directory has become an executive authority;
Despite popular unrest, the constitution came into force and a new government was formed.
Many historians believe that the coup d'état led to a widening gap between the rich and the poor. In the future, the abyss has not been overcome, which turned Paris into a city of contrasts, where one could see defiant luxury and terrifying poverty.