Jacobin (politics)
A Jacobin in the context of the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, was a member of the Jacobin Club
Jacobin Club
The Jacobin Club was the most famous and influential political club in the development of the French Revolution, so-named because of the Dominican convent where they met, located in the Rue St. Jacques , Paris. The club originated as the Club Benthorn, formed at Versailles from a group of Breton...

, a revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

 far-left political movement. The Jacobin Club was the most famous political club of the French Revolution. So called from the Dominican
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 convent where they originally met, in the Rue St. Jacques (Latin: Jacobus), Paris. At that time, the term was popularly applied to all supporters of revolutionary opinions. In contemporary France it refers to the concept of a centralized
Centralisation, or centralization , is the process by which the activities of an organisation, particularly those regarding planning and decision-making, become concentrated within a particular location and/or group....

A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

, with power concentrated in the national government, at the expense of local or regional governments.

United Kingdom

George Canning
George Canning
George Canning PC, FRS was a British statesman and politician who served as Foreign Secretary and briefly Prime Minister.-Early life: 1770–1793:...

's paper, The Anti-Jacobin
The Anti-Jacobin, or, Weekly Examiner was a newspaper founded by George Canning in 1797. William Gifford was its editor. Its first issue was published on 20 November and during the parliamentary session of 1797–98 it was issued every Monday....

, directed against the English Radical
Radicals (UK)
The Radicals were a parliamentary political grouping in the United Kingdom in the early to mid 19th century, who drew on earlier ideas of radicalism and helped to transform the Whigs into the Liberal Party.-Background:...

s, of the 18th-19th century, consecrated its use in England.

The English who supported the French Revolution during its early stages (or even throughout) were early known as Jacobins. These included the young Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla...

, William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads....

, and others prior to their disillusionment with the outbreak of the Reign of Terror
Reign of Terror
The Reign of Terror , also known simply as The Terror , was a period of violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of "enemies of...

. Others, such as William Hazlitt
William Hazlitt
William Hazlitt was an English writer, remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, and as a grammarian and philosopher. He is now considered one of the great critics and essayists of the English language, placed in the company of Samuel Johnson and George Orwell. Yet his work is...

 and Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States...

, remained idealistic about the Revolution. Much detail on English Jacobinism can be found in E. P. Thompson
E. P. Thompson
Edward Palmer Thompson was a British historian, writer, socialist and peace campaigner. He is probably best known today for his historical work on the British radical movements in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, in particular The Making of the English Working Class...

's The Making of the English Working Class
The Making of the English Working Class
The Making of the English Working Class is an influential and pivotal work of English social history, written by E. P. Thompson, a notable 'New Left' historian; it was published in 1963 by Victor Gollancz Ltd, and later republished at Pelican, becoming an early Open University Set Book...

. Welsh Jacobins include William Jones
William Jones (Welsh radical)
William Jones was a Welsh antiquary, poet, scholar and radical. Jones was an ardent supporter of both the American and French Revolutions, and through his strong support of the Jacobin cause he became known as 'the rural Voltaire' or 'Welsh Voltaire'...

, a radical patriot who was a keen disciple of Voltaire, rather than preaching revolution, Jones believed that an exodus from Wales was required and that a new Welsh colony should be founded in the United States.

The Anti-Jacobin was planned by Canning when he was Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He secured the collaboration
Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals, — for example, an intriguing endeavor that is creative in nature—by sharing...

 of George Ellis, John Hookham Frere
John Hookham Frere
John Hookham Frere PC was an English diplomat and author.Frere was born in London. His father, John Frere, the member of a Suffolk family, had been educated at Caius College, Cambridge, and would have been senior wrangler in 1763 but for the competition of William Paley; his mother, Jane,...

, William Gifford, and some others. William Gifford was appointed working editor. The first number appeared on 20 November 1797, with a notice that "the publication would be continued every Monday during the sitting of Parliament
Parliament of Great Britain
The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland...

". A volume of the best pieces, entitled The Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin, was published in 1800. It is almost impossible to apportion accurately the various pieces to their respective authors, though more than one attempt has been made to do so. When it finished in 1798, John Gifford began The Anti-Jacobin Review
Anti-Jacobin Review
The Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine, or, Monthly Political and Literary Censor , a conservative British political periodical, was founded by John Gifford [pseud. of John Richards Green] after the demise of William Gifford's The Anti-Jacobin, or, Weekly Examiner...

 and Magazine, or, Monthly Political and Literary Censor
, which ran until 1821.


In the correspondence of Metternich and other leaders of the repressive policies that followed the second fall of Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 in 1815, Jacobin is the term commonly applied to anyone with liberal
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 tendencies, such as the emperor Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....


United States

Early Federalist-leaning American newspapers during the French Revolution referred to the Democratic-Republican party as the "Jacobin Party". The most notable examples are the Gazette of the United States
Gazette of the United States
The Gazette of the United States was an early American partisan newspaper first issued on April 15, 1789, as a biweekly publication friendly to the administration of George Washington, and to the policies and members of the emerging Federalist Party...

, published in Philadelphia, and the Delaware and Eastern Shore Advertiser, published in Wilmington, during the elections of 1798.

In modern American politics, the term Jacobin is often used to describe extremists of any party who demand ideological purity. For instance, in the lead-up to the 1964 Republican National Convention
1964 Republican National Convention
The 1964 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States took place in the Cow Palace, San Francisco, California, on July 13 to July 16, 1964. Before 1964, there had only been one national Republican convention on the West Coast...

, the press referred to supporters of the insurgent Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 conservative Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

 as "Cactus Jacobins" in their effort to unseat the moderate East Coast
Eastern United States
The Eastern United States, the American East, or simply the East is traditionally defined as the states east of the Mississippi River. The first two tiers of states west of the Mississippi have traditionally been considered part of the West, but can be included in the East today; usually in...

 branch of the party (see Rockefeller Republican
Rockefeller Republican
Rockefeller Republican refers to a faction of the United States Republican Party who held moderate to liberal views similar to those of Nelson Rockefeller...

). Goldwater had written in his seminal The Conscience of a Conservative
The Conscience of a Conservative
The Conscience of a Conservative is a book published under the name of Arizona Senator and 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1960. The book reignited the American conservative movement and made Barry Goldwater a political star...

(1960) that "Throughout history, true Conservatism has been at war equally with autocrats and with 'democratic' Jacobins." The term was again used by some analysts with the advent of the Tea Party movement
Tea Party movement
The Tea Party movement is an American populist political movement that is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian, and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009...

 in 2009-2010, with The New Republic
The New Republic
The magazine has also published two articles concerning income inequality, largely criticizing conservative economists for their attempts to deny the existence or negative effect increasing income inequality is having on the United States...

commentator Eve Fairbanks describing right-wing opponents of moderate Republican Congressman Wayne Gilchrest
Wayne Gilchrest
Wayne Thomas Gilchrest is a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives who represented . In 2008, the moderate Gilchrest was defeated in the Republican primary by State Senator Andy Harris....

 as "Jacobin conservatives". In the May 27, 2010, issue of The New York Review of Books, Columbia
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 professor Mark Lilla analyzed five recent books dealing with American political party discontent in a review titled, "The Tea Party Jacobins". 2010 also saw the launch of an American based radical publication, Jacobin (magazine)
Jacobin (magazine)
Jacobin is a quarterly magazine of culture and polemic based out of Washington, D.C, New York and London. The publication began as an online magazine released in September of 2010, but expanded into a print journal later that year...


Allegorical usage

The conventionalized scrawny, French revolutionary sans-culottes
In the French Revolution, the sans-culottes were the radical militants of the lower classes, typically urban laborers. Though ill-clad and ill-equipped, they made up the bulk of the Revolutionary army during the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars...

Jacobin, was developed from about 1790 by British satirical
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 artists James Gillray
James Gillray
James Gillray , was a British caricaturist and printmaker famous for his etched political and social satires, mainly published between 1792 and 1810.- Early life :He was born in Chelsea...

, Thomas Rowlandson
Thomas Rowlandson
Thomas Rowlandson was an English artist and caricaturist.- Biography :Rowlandson was born in Old Jewry, in the City of London. He was the son of a tradesman or city merchant. On leaving school he became a student at the Royal Academy...

 and George Cruikshank
George Cruikshank
George Cruikshank was a British caricaturist and book illustrator, praised as the "modern Hogarth" during his life. His book illustrations for his friend Charles Dickens, and many other authors, reached an international audience.-Early life:Cruikshank was born in London...

. It was commonly contrasted with the stolid stocky conservative and well-meaning John Bull
John Bull
John Bull is a national personification of Britain in general and England in particular, especially in political cartoons and similar graphic works. He is usually depicted as a stout, middle-aged man, often wearing a Union Flag waistcoat.-Origin:...

, dressed like an English country squire. C.L.R. James also used the term to refer to revolutionaries during the Haitian Revolution
Haitian Revolution
The Haitian Revolution was a period of conflict in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, which culminated in the elimination of slavery there and the founding of the Haitian republic...

 in his book The Black Jacobins
The Black Jacobins
The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution , by Afro-Trinidadian writer C. L. R. James , is a history of the 1791-1804 Haitian Revolution...

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