Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship, and Authenticity in the French Revolution

Paperback | July 4, 2015

byMarisa Linton

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Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship and Authenticity in the French Revolution examines the leaders of the French Revolution - Robespierre and his fellow Jacobins - and particularly the gradual process whereby many of them came to "choose terror". These men led the Jacobin Club between 1789 and1794, and were attempting to establish new democratic politics in France. Exploring revolutionary politics through the eyes of these leaders, and against a political backdrop of a series of traumatic events, wars, and betrayals, Marisa Linton portrays the Jacobins as complex human beings who wereinfluenced by emotions and personal loyalties, as well as by their revolutionary ideology.The Jacobin leaders' entire political careers were constrained by their need to be seen by their supporters as "men of virtue", free from corruption and ambition, and concerned only with the public good. In the early stages of the Revolution, being seen as "men of virtue" empowered the Jacobinleaders, and aided them in their efforts to forge their political careers. However, with the onset of war, there was a growing conviction that political leaders who feigned virtue were "the enemy within", secretly conspiring with France's external enemies. By year two, the year of the Terror, theJacobin identity had become a destructive force: in order to demonstrate their own authenticity, they had to be seen to act virtuously, and be prepared, if the public good demanded it, to denounce and destroy their friends, and even to sacrifice their own lives. This desperate thinking resulted inthe politicians' terror, one of the most ruthless of all forms of terror during the Revolution. Choosing Terror seeks neither to cast blame, nor to exonerate, but to understand the process whereby such things can happen.

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Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship and Authenticity in the French Revolution examines the leaders of the French Revolution - Robespierre and his fellow Jacobins - and particularly the gradual process whereby many of them came to "choose terror". These men led the Jacobin Club between 1789 and1794, and were attempting to establish new ...

Marisa Linton is a leading historian of the French Revolution. She is currently Reader in History at Kingston University. She has published widely on eighteenth-century France and the French Revolution. She is the author of The Politics of Virtue in Enlightenment France (2001) and the co-editor of Conspiracy in the French Revolution (2...

other books by Marisa Linton

Format:PaperbackDimensions:334 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.72 inPublished:July 4, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198733097

ISBN - 13:9780198733096

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Table of Contents

Political Identity and the Jacobin Leaders1. The Eighteenth-Century Man of Virtue2. 'How the Face of Things Has Changed!'3. New Men for New Politics: the First Jacobin Leaders4. The Ascendancy of the Girondins and the Path to War5. Choosing Sides: Friends, Factions and Conspirators in the New Republic6. A Conspiracy of Girondins7. Being Cincinnatus: The Jacobins in Power8. The Enemy Within9. The Robespierrists and the Republic of Virtue10. Final Choices: Thermidor11. Achieving AuthenticityConclusion