Club des Cordeliers

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The Club des Cordeliers , formally Société des droits de l'homme et du citoyen (“Society of Human Rights and Citizens”), was a radical club at the time of the French Revolution . Its leading figures included Jean-Paul Marat , Georges Danton , Camille Desmoulins , Jacques-René Hébert and Pierre-Gaspard Chaumette .


The aim of the club was to drive the revolution forward, while observing the government and legislative assembly and, if necessary, putting them under pressure; in correspondence he used an open eye as an emblem. The Cordeliers were the first association to advocate a republic. There was no membership fee and women could also become members. The motto “ Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité ” may have come from Antoine-François Momoro , a prominent Cordelier; at least it became widespread and popular through this club.


The club was founded in Paris on April 27, 1790 and later named after its meeting place, the dissolved Franciscan monastery  , analogous to the Jacobins - because of the cord tied around the belly, Franciscans are referred to in French as cordeliers . As early as 1791, however, the club met in the hall of the “Musée de Prais” society on Rue Dauphine. With the Jacobins, they have shared the top rows of seats in parliament since the days of the Constituent Assembly, which is why these two groups also became known as the Mountain Party ( Montagne ). The much more numerous Jacobins, however, gained greater prominence. The Cordeliers took an active part in the movement against the monarchy on June 20 and August 10, 1792 . The September massacres in 1792 were also due to the radicalization of the Cordeliers.

In 1793 a division emerged: into a moderate faction , the "indulgent" or indulgent (also Dantonists), including Georges Danton , Fabre d'Églantine , Louis Legendre and Camille Desmoulins , some of whom also belonged to the Jacobin Club, and the increasingly to the The club is dominated by radical and anti-church enragés (also Hébertists ) with Jacques-René Hébert , François-Nicolas Vincent , Charles Philippe Ronsin and Antoine-François Momoro . While the Dantonists wanted to curb revolutionary terror and bring about peace in the First Coalition War , the Hébertists tended to tighten revolutionary measures in order to master the increasing social crisis. Among other things, under their pressure, the Convention adopted the loi des suspects (law on suspects) and the loi du maximum général (general law on maximum prices). The ultra-left group relied in particular on the penniless sans-culottes .

The Hébertists were fought by those revolutionaries who wanted to end terrorism, in particular by Danton and Desmoulins in his journal Le Vieux Cordelier, published in 1793 and 1794 . The club violated Danton and Desmoulins and attacked Robespierre for his "moderation", in its meeting on 14 Ventôse (March 4) 1794 he called for an uprising against the rule of the welfare committee, but without taking any action. The French historian Albert Soboul suspects that only a mass demonstration was planned. Mediation attempts by Louis Antoine de Saint-Just and Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois were unsuccessful. On Ventôse 23rd (March 13th) the most important Cordeliers were arrested, tried and tried, they were guillotined on March 4th Germinal (March 24th) 1794. A few days later the Dantonist faction was also smashed, the arrest and condemnation of the most prominent members were carried out on the pretext of corruption and treasonous negotiations with hostile countries, and their execution took place on April 16th (April 5th). The Cordeliers Club, deprived of its most important members, initially played no role in the further course of the revolution. After the Jacobin Club closed in November 1794, its most vehement representatives (so-called Cretans ) joined the Cordeliers. In response, the Thermidorians arranged for its final closure on the 20th of Pluviose III (February 20, 1795)

Known members


  • Rachel Hammersley: French revolutionaries and English republicans. The Cordeliers Club 1790-1794 . Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge 2011, ISBN 978-1-8438-3646-9 .
  • Albert Mathiez (ed.): Le "Club des Cordeliers" pendant la crise de Varennes et la massacre du champs de Mars . Champion, Paris 1910.

Web links

Commons : Club des Cordeliers  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Aglaia I. Hartig Jean Paul Marat , Wagenbach's Pocket Library, 1987 edition, p. 25
  2. Albert Soboul The Great French Revolution , Athens 1988, pages 385 and 407