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Old January 26th, 2012, 07:51 AM   #1

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Napoleon and the Jacobins?


What was Napoleon's relationship or attitude to the Jacobins when they were in power? I read that he was a strong believer in their cause at the time. Or was he just simply a military man who obeyed whoever happened to be in power?
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Old January 26th, 2012, 07:59 AM   #2

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Well, seeing that Napoleon did his best to overturn a lot of the decisions of the Jacobins when he came to power, I would say he just gave their ideals lip service at the time....
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Old January 26th, 2012, 09:17 AM   #3
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Napoleon liked the revolution, but after being apart of that revolution for a time he became to dislike the Jacobins. They stood for Chaos he stood for order, they wanted to get rid of a one man authoritarian power he wanted to establish a one man government, they supported the execution of the king he was against it, they loved the mob Napoleon feared the mob. Etc etc.

Napoleon was a revolutionary at heart but never a Jacobin, he hated the Bourbons but didn't condemn them. He was to say a little in between the Royalists and the Jacobins. Later under his reign he used from both sides the most positive measures and this would form the basis of the Napoleonic regime.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 09:52 AM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivfan View Post
Well, seeing that Napoleon did his best to overturn a lot of the decisions of the Jacobins when he came to power, I would say he just gave their ideals lip service at the time....
He definitely didn't like their methods, but he felt that the threat of foreign invasion made it essential that France be united. So he held his nose and supported them for as long as he had to, and believed all Frenchmen should do the same.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 10:53 AM   #5

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He had known robespierre's brother ; that'll be a little bit delicate in thrermidor

and don't forget that bonaparte isn't = napoléon, no ?
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Old January 26th, 2012, 12:15 PM   #6

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He had known robespierre's brother ; that'll be a little bit delicate in thrermidor
Yes, his association with Augustin Robespierre got him arrested after 9 Thermidor, but the representants could find no evidence against him and finally released him, although they did reassign him and reduce his pay. He quickly overcame that though.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 12:18 PM   #7

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Originally Posted by Belloc View Post
What was Napoleon's relationship or attitude to the Jacobins when they were in power? I read that he was a strong believer in their cause at the time. Or was he just simply a military man who obeyed whoever happened to be in power?
This is from The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, by Robert Asprey:

Quote:
Napoleon had never attempted to hide his preference for Jacobin rule insofar as it promised an end to tyranny and the establishment of an egalitarian republic. Nevertheless, he did not like certain aspects of the formative period: he loathed the mob attacks on the Tuileries, and he approved neither of the execution of King Louis XVI nor of the hideous excesses of the Terror. Yet, what were the alternatives? Certainly not a monarchy and rule by feudal lords. Certainly not rule by assembly, a mumbo-jumbo of screeching lawyers who could scarcely agree on the time of day, a disastrous regime that threatened to plunge the country into anarchy and open its borders to foreign invasion. No one could deny that Robespierre's quasi-dictatorship, despite or perhaps because of its excesses, had brought a semblance of order to a torn country.

Source: The rise of Napoleon Bonaparte - Robert B. Asprey - Google Books
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Old January 26th, 2012, 12:22 PM   #8

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Originally Posted by Rongo View Post
This is from The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, by Robert Asprey:
Thanks, that helps answer my question.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 07:00 PM   #9

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Just to add a few more things here, from another post in the past:

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He didn't really despise the Revolutionary government - because, for one, to establish the term as a single entity is an impossibility - and it was certainly not as much as his general animosity for the feudalistic and civilly-unequal system of the Ancien Régime. He of course did not think many aspects of the Revolution were warranted (his Concordat obviously exemplified his belief that religion was necessary, even if he himself did not believe in it), but then again, dechristianisation was always different to outright religious opposition during the Revolution, anyway. Still, it was true he only saw the Jacobin Committee of Public Safety as the only reasonable 'government' of the Revolution, which was really espoused through his Le Souper de Beaucaire.
...
Quote:
I of course don't deny he didn't gleam any worth from the Monarchy at all (a right paradox that would be!). But I think it's quite wrong to say, as some do, that he despised the Monarchy and the Revolutionary Government (exacerbated in incongruity by the latter's lack of specificity) alike. He detested the mess of the Revolution, but did think the CPS, along with the radical Jacobins, were where the best hope lay; he did change his mind slightly after the Revolution, or at least professed that quite constantly, but it was certainly clearly there. As I mentioned earlier, the Jacobins were unabashedly praised in his '93 dialogue - though still, he was a highly intelligent man, attempting to unify both revolutionaries and those who were not in favour it (I hesitate to use 'counter-revolutionary', since it is not limited to them, including émigrés, etc.).
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Old January 26th, 2012, 10:01 PM   #10

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The Jacobans were a (from what I was told, radical) political club that was around during the revolution in France. Napoleon was an actual member of this group, and he even became the organization's secretary at one point.
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