The French Revolution

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Assess the role of the Jacobin Club in the French Revolution.

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I am not sure there is going to be much in the way of good about the Jacobins in the French Revolution.  I think that one positive element could be how the group started.  Its origins were rooted in a setting that believed in universal suffrage, widespread education, separation of church and state, as well as other Enlightenment notions.  Yet, I think that the emergence of Robespierre and the Reign of Terror that resulted as the group gained power has to be taken into account.  The emergence of the group and the "Republic of Virtue" turned out to be an absolute disaster, and one that was responsible for anything but Enlightenment notions of the good.  The idea of this group of individuals controlling the fate of many, using public policy and instruments to avenge personal vendetta, and the setting created in which "no one was too illustrious or too humble to escape" helped to make it a representation of the disaster of the French Revolution.  If nothing else, the Jacobin Club demonstrated the historical tenet of the difficulty in maintaining and establishing power in a post- Revolution setting.

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