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Who were the Girondins?

Unlike a club that people joined, such as the Jacobin Club, the Girondins were never quite so clearly identifiable as a group and historians have debated whether they actually existed as a political party or whether they were linked by ties of friendship and geography. Many of the Girondins came from the Gironde region (e.g. Bergeoing, Ducos, Gensonné, Guadet, and Vergniaud) and some of them were friends who regularly dined together. However, the more recent view is that they did act as a clearly defined political group within the National Convention.

Three ways of identifying them have been explored. The first is how they voted on issues in the National Assembly such as the decision whether the King’s fate should be decided by the people. A second is by their membership of certain clubs or groups, such as attending the salon of Madame Roland. The third is their being identified as Girondins by their enemies the Paris sections and Commune and by their Montagnard opponents such as Saint-Just or Amar on the CGS.

The accompanying spreadsheet lists seventy seven men who have been identified as Girondins using a range of indicators suggested by the historian M. J. Sydenham, The Girondins (1961). Explore the data, especially using filters, to see if you can identify any patterns amongst these men.

Some questions to help get you started.

  1. Did any of the men who frequented Vergniaud’s salon survive the Terror and if so why might this have happened?
  2. Was it fatal to be named as a traitor or suspect by Saint Just on 8 July 1793?
  3. What connections can you make between the eventual fate of these men and the CGS report prepared by Amar.

The spreadsheet data is taken from Colin Jones, The Longman Companion to the French Revolution(1998) pp. 176-180.

Download the Spreadsheet