Girondins  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Girondists (in French: Girondins, and sometimes Brissotins) were a political faction in France within the Legislative Assembly and the National Convention during the French Revolution. They campaigned for the end of the monarchy but then resisted the spiraling momentum of the Revolution. They came into conflict with The Mountain (Montagnards, a more radical faction within the Jacobin Club). This conflict eventually led to the fall of the Girondists and their mass execution, the beginning of the Reign of Terror. The Girondists were a group of loosely-affiliated individuals rather than an organised political party, and the name was at first informally applied because the most prominent exponents of their point of view were deputies to the States-general from the department of Gironde in southwest France.

The famous painting Death of Marat depicts the revenge killing of radical journalist (and denouncer of the Girondists) Jean-Paul Marat by Girondist sympathizer, Charlotte Corday. Some prominent Girondists were Jacques Pierre Brissot, Jean Marie Roland and his wife Madame Roland. They had an ally in American Founding Father Thomas Paine. Brissot and Madame Roland were executed with the guillotine and Jean Roland (who was in hiding) committed suicide when he learned what had transpired. Paine was arrested and imprisoned but narrowly escaped execution.

Further reading

Of the special works on the Girondists Lamartine's Histoire des Girondins (2 volumes, Paris, 1847, new edition 1902, in 6 volumes) is rhetoric rather than history and is untrustworthy; the Histoire des Girondins, by A. Gramier de Cassagnac (Paris, 1860) led to the publication of a Protestation by J. Guadet, a nephew of the Girondist orator, which was followed by his Les Girondins, leur vie privée, leur vie publique, leur proscription et leur mort (2 volumes, Paris, 1861, new edition 1890), with which compare Alary, Les Girondins par Guadet (Bordeaux, 1863); also Charles Vatel, Charlotte Corday et les Girondins: pièces classées et annotées (3 volumes, Paris, 1864–1872).

  • A new addition to this theme is Prof. Leigh Ann Whaley's book, Radicals-Politics and Republicanism in the French Revolution (2000), Sutton Publishing, Gloucestershire, which has elicited several pungent reviews, some of which are noted in this text via direct link citations. Supplementary reading that helps separate the Jacobins from the Girondins (but are not specific works about the Girondins):
  • Schama, Simon. Citizens - A Chronicle of the French Revolution. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1989,(hardcover; ISBN 0-394-55948-7).
  • Scott, Otto. Robespierre, The Fool as Revolutionary - Inside the French Revolution. Windsor, NY, The Reformer Library, 1974 (softcover; ISBN 978-1-887690-05-8)
  • Loomis, Stanley. Paris in the Terror. New York, NY, Dorset Press, 1964 (hardcover; ISBN 0-88029-401-9). This work relates in detail (1) the relationship of Charlotte Corday to the Girondins and the subsequent assassination of Marat and (2) the love-hate relationship between Danton and the Girondins.
  • Furet, François and Mona Ozouf, eds. La Gironde et les Girondins (Paris: éditions Payot, 1991).

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Girondins" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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