Mountain party

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The Mountain Party ( French La Montagne ), whose members were called Montagnards , was a political grouping in the National Convention during the French Revolution . Although the term was already used during the sessions of the Legislative Assembly for the highest-seated deputies, it did not come into general use until 1793 . The Montagnards consisted mainly of the Jacobin Club, founded in 1789, and the politically similar Cordeliers .

At the opening of the Convention, the Montagnards group comprised men of very different views, and the cohesion that ensued was due more to the opposition of their leaders to the Girondist leaders than to any deeper political unity between the two groups. This opposing group was called Marais ("swamp") because of their seating position in the lower ranks . The main difference was that the Girondins comprised mostly theorists and thinkers, while the members of the Mountain Party saw themselves as men of action. The Gironde MPs also represented a more moderate, bourgeois-republican policy that had already achieved its goals - such as the legal equality of all citizens. In the mountain party, on the other hand, far more radical views and goals were represented, in whose interest it was to advance the revolution. The aim was, for example, social and political equality that went far beyond the concessions made to the “ fourth estate ” in the first constitution .

During their argument with the Girondins, the Montagnards gained the upper hand in the Jacobin Club. For some time, Jacobins and Montagnard were synonymous terms. The Mountain Party was successively influenced by men like Marat , Danton and Robespierre .

When the National Convention was convened in 1793, however, the Mountain Party was already falling apart; In April 1790, the radical Cordeliers under the leadership of Marat, Dantons and Desmoulin had already formed a kind of further party. However, it should not be forgotten that these were not parties as we see them today, but rather debating clubs. Anyone could be a member of several of these clubs.

In 1793 these split further into the ultra-left enragés , from which the Hébertists later emerged, and the indulgents , who under Danton and Desmoulins increasingly called for moderation and an end to the terreur . After the political elimination of the Girondins and the execution of many of their leaders, the fragile unity of the Mountain Party finally fell apart. With Danton's support, Robespierre brought the ultra-left Hébertists to the scaffold in March 1794, only a few days later he turned against the more moderate Dantonists and had Danton and his closest confidante arrested on March 30, 1794 and executed on April 5, 1794.

Robespierre did not lead the Mountain Party for a long time either. After his execution (July 28, 1794) the remnants of the mountain party lost power in the convent. The remaining Montagnards (the so-called "summit") were arrested as a result of the uprisings of Germinal and Prairial in 1795, and some were executed. The entry into force of the constitution of the directorate sealed the end of this political grouping.


  • Jeanne Grall: Girondins et Montagnards . Edition Ouest-France, Rennes 1989, ISBN 2-7373-0243-9 .
  • Albert Mathiez: Girondins et Montagnards. Études d'histoire révolutionnaire . Firmin-Didot, Paris 1930.
  • Morris Slavin: The making of an insurrection. Parisian sections and the Gironde . Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1986, ISBN 0-674-54328-9 .

Web links

Commons : Montagnards  - collection of images, videos and audio files