Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism  

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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.

Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism (written in French, but translated into English and first published in 1798-1799) is a book by the French Jesuit, the Abbé Augustin Barruel.

In the book, Barruel claims that the French Revolution was the result of a deliberate conspiracy or plot to overthrow the throne, altar and aristocratic society in Europe. The plot was allegedly hatched by a coalition of philosophes, Freemasons, and the Order of the Illuminati. The conspirators created a system that was inherited by the Jacobins who operated it to its greatest potential. The Memoirs purports to expose the Revolution as the culmination of a long history of subversion. Barruel was not the first to make these charges but he was the first to present them in a fully developed historical context and his "evidence" was on a quite unprecedented scale. Barruel wrote each of the first three volumes of the book as separate discussions of those who contributed to the conspiracy. The fourth volume is an attempt to unite them all in a description of the Jacobins in the French Revolution. Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism is representative of the criticism of the Enlightenment that spread throughout Europe during the Revolutionary period.

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