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Clean up but don't efface[edit]

This is an interesting article, but it has that century-old 1911 EB fragrance that suggests it should be a candidate for cleanup. References to "the mob," for example, indicate a POV that deserves closer examination of assumptions and more careful statement of conclusions. On the other hand, it's hard not to appreciate the vigor of a passage such as:

In the earlier stages of the Revolution the mob had been satisfied with the fine platitudes of the philosophes and the vague promise of a political millennium; but as the chaos in the body politic grew, and with it the appalling material misery, it began to clamour for the blood of the traitors in office by whose corrupt machinations the millennium was delayed, and only those orators were listened to who pandered to its suspicions. Hence the elimination of the moderate elements from the club; hence the ascendancy of Marat, and finally of Robespierre, the secret of whose power was that they really shared the suspicions of the populace, to which they gave a voice and which they did not shrink from translating into action.

I only hope that whoever edits this in order to turn it into a more encyclopedic article can preserve this bold descriptive prose, while demystifying "it" (the mob, the body politic, the populace or whoever).

The article needs, first and foremost, a clearer chronological narrative for those of us who do not know each stage of the French Revolution and its players; it could also use some topic headings simply to break up the text. We also should incorporate the text of Jacobin, which is more about the word than the club or its members, it seems. Italo Svevo 01:38, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Note to whoever took this on: if 1911 EB prose is vivid, but too POV, you can set it off with phrases like "characterized in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica as..." -- Jmabel | Talk 23:03, Apr 23, 2005 (UTC)

I'm not going to be sucked into a reversion war...[edit]

... but I think this is a poor edit, and would welcome someone else's reverting back to my version. The edit removes the cleanup tag from an article that I think still needs a lot of cleanup, turns m-dashes into double hyphens, and substitutes a generally inferior (in some case frivolous or even misspelled) set of section headings. Since I've already reverted this person twice, I leave it to someone else to make the next move. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:12, August 10, 2005 (UTC)

Steve espanola has basically followed my hours of work ni converting the old cleanup archives to the new cleanup system, frivously removing cleanup tags and vandalizing page after page after page...this is merely one front in a expansive edit war. Thanks for your help! — HopeSeekr of xMule (Talk) 17:07, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Adding the third opinion that Jmabel's version, with the change HopeSeekr made in his last edit, is preferable to Steve Espinola's. The Literate Engineer 21:13, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

Eponynm of Rue St Jacques[edit]

Who was the St Jacques after whom the street was named? Was this the apostle St James, or some other saint? JackofOz 01:30, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

For anybody who may have been getting around to responding, I've now posted the question on Wikipedia:Reference desk/Miscellaneous. Please respond there only. JackofOz 01:55, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

Major edit partly retreated[edit]

This major edit seems to me to have removed several legitimate citations quite a bit of good material, which I have generally restored, in some cases rewriting. In several places, it also restored the relatively stilted language of the 1911 Britannica; in general, I have not gone through and dealt with that (someone may want to), though I did revert one area where Britannica was very POV (giving a justification for the terror: we now, again, cite this as Britannica's view, rather than having it in the narrative voice. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:25, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

To be merged?[edit]

There was a student essay that was posted into Jacobin almost a year ago. At that time, I had moved it to Jacobin/Sandbox and pretty much forgotten about it until WikiGnome Cje reminded me today. It was, frankly, not all that good, but there was some good material there. I've heavily rewritten it, wikified it, etc. The result may or may not be worth merging here; I'd appreciate outside opinions. - Jmabel | Talk 22:11, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Marat not a member[edit]

Marat was never officially a member of the jacobin Club - —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 06:45, 29 November 2006.

True. Fixed. Foraminifera 17:32, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, somebody un-fixed it then. I'll re-fix it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by TimSheehan (talkcontribs) 12:59, 12 April 2007 (UTC).

Date of Robespierre's execution[edit]

The date listed as Robespierre's execution was wrong, so I've taken the liberty of changing it. (Specifically - it was actually 10 Thermidor, year II, or July 28, 1794; not 9 Thermidor, year III, or July 29, 1794)

Too Harsh?[edit]

Is it just me, or does the attitude of this article towards its subject matter seems somewhat negatively biased? - (talk) 01:52, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Could you be more specific about what you see as issues? - Jmabel | Talk 03:01, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Robespierre is selectively and quite unfairly quoted on the Terror. The article puts these words in his mouth, "Terror is only justice that is prompt, severe and inflexible." Following the link, that appears to be taken from a slightly different translation of this passage (bold text to highlight the approximate source), "If the spring of popular government in time of peace is virtue, the springs of popular government in revolution are at once virtue and terror: virtue, without which terror is fatal; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs. " Stripped of context, he is being made out to be a tyrant, but in the context of the paragraph it's clear that Robespierre has in mind an emergency measure. (The following paragraph is important for giving a sense of Robespierre's thinking, as well.) If it's necessary to have a one-liner from him on Terror, then it should probably be, "the first maxim of your policy ought to be to lead the people by reason and the people's enemies by terror." --Nixin06 (talk) 14:23, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi Nixin06, thanks for your comments. I was editing the Robespierre page some time ago and meant to eventually improve the section on the terror, but never finished. In my opinion, the events leading up to and following the split with the Girondists need more attention; the section on the terror could also use improvement. If you have a number of sources available, some time, and want to improve this section, you can do so, without worrying about the talk pages unless someone raises concerns. Good luck! If you don't have time, I still hope to get there eventually... -Darouet (talk) 18:59, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree that we ought to be fair to all subjects, guided only by the facts. The thing is, when we follow our code on a subject like the Jacobins, the article is bound to create a negative impression, because they of the atrocities they committed. This is not negative "bias," which would require a manipulation of the facts (at the very least, over-emphasis of the bad actions of the subject, and, more cleverly, elisions of facts that, if included, would portray the subject in a positive light.) With the Jacobins, any fair article is bound to create a negative impression — I mean, golly, they chopped off more heads than ISIS has, and you know how the average person regards ISIS's atrocities. Most people just feel uneasy with organizations for whom beheadings are the modus operandi. Very similar allegations of bias constantly come up on the talk pages for political movements that utilize mass-murder as a political tool — see for example, the archives of the "Fascism" article's talk page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:27, 11 December 2014 (UTC)


I'm going to change the headings around to make them more chronological. ("Fall of Monarchy" comes before "Paris") (talk) 21:04, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

"war of sticks and chairs"?[edit]

This phrase is used in the article, yet I've never heard of it. A Google search only gives me an article from the Encyclopedea Brittanica (from which this article was apparently copied). If anyone knows what this means, please replace this phrase with something that a modern English speaker can understand! (talk) 01:54, 12 December 2008 (UTC)


Several of the citations in the influence section are in academic inline format rather than Wiki format. Is this deliberate or should the references be Wikified? (talk) 15:37, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

A little clean up, clairification[edit]

A good article but i think it needs some cleaning up and some clarification. The French revolution is notoriously complex, as is the Napoleonic wars; but i think it can be more succinct, descriptive and informative. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jenkinsear (talkcontribs) 03:01, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

One concern is that the diversity and complexity of the club isn't captured very well. Jacobin club was characterized by a myriad array of political tendencies all representing a different mixture of political perspectives and social policies. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the debates surrounding the onset of war in spring 1792, the fall of the monarchy that summer, the autumn radicalization and subsequent trial of the king. If nobody else works on this I'll contribute in the coming weeks. - Darouet | Talk 11:00, 21 July 20011 (UTC)


I see this was moved from Jacobin to the current title to distinguish it from the use of Jacobin as a general political derogation of radical leftist politics. However, surely I cannot be the only one who finds the inclusion of our article on Jacobinism under this title to be extremely odd. I suggest that the political article (such as it is which is not very much) retain its current title at Jacobin (Politics) and this be restored back to good old, straightforward, tried and true, consistent with every History Book on the French Revolution index entry Jacobin. Eusebeus (talk) 14:10, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

I also find it odd, and it's also annoying that Jacobin itself is a dab page. French Revolutionary Jacobins are the most common usage. The Jacobin (politics) article is muddled in that it attempts to describe the French Jacobins as well as all other manifestations of the term in politics. I think it should be edited to reflect its worldwide approach, and perhaps even renamed to Jacobinism (politics); its French Revolutionary material should be merged into Jacobin which should be reserved strictly for the historical French term; and Jacobin Club should just be a redirect to Jacobin just like Cordeliers Club redirects to Cordeliers. SteveStrummer (talk) 16:39, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. -Darouet (talk) 16:40, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Done -- check to make sure that's all the way you want it (makes sense to me too, by the way, as this is the main usage of 'Jacobin'). Antandrus (talk) 22:49, 19 September 2011 (UTC)


I disagree with the inclusion of a Template:Infobox political party in this article. It was added - without consensus - by IP User: whom I suspect of being identical with multiply banned User:Sonny1998/User:Absolute98 in July 2014. I didn't have this article on my watchlist, so I just became aware of the addition recently. The infobox was designed for political parties in the modern sense and has parameters that fit modern political parties. The Jacobins were a revolutionary era political movement and club that differed from modern-time political parties significantly. Therefore most of the parameters of the infobox just make no sense. Using this infobox template is anachronistic. Moreover it mostly contains WP:original research that is not referenced in the article, especially the "popular wing", "paramilitary wing" and "religion" sections. The information in the infobox even contradicts the rest of the article: according to the infobox, Mirabeau was the Jacobins' president from 1789-1791, the article however has Aiguillon as their president on 8 February 1790 and later informs us that the president was elected anew every month. Therefore it is dubious (and in default of references unverifiable) if the four presidents in the infobox and their tenures are correct. If the office of the president in fact rotated quickly, it would not be praticable anyway to list all the presidents in the infobox. In my opinion the use of this infobox is not at all helpful, on the contrary: I find it even counterproductive as it produces misperceptions. There is no rule that every article needs or should have an infobox. In some cases they are simply not fitting. --RJFF (talk) 21:29, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

When the infobox was added, without being reverted, its presence gained implicit consensus, I think, which it has kept for 6 months. If not this type of infobox, then which one? An article doesn't have to have an infobox, but this one seems to work (although the various parameters may contain controversial information that gets argued over, especially political ideology, leading to edit warring, but also indicating the vitality of such a summary). The political party infobox has parameters to provide for a party becoming defunct, which applies to the Jacobins, so it's not restricted to current political parties (and just how were the Jacobins inherently different from modern political parties?). As far as there being original research, how defined? Original research often means eyewitness accounts not published, and that's unlikely here. Dhtwiki (talk) 07:08, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps I have used the wrong term. I mean information that is not referenced and therefore not verifiable. --RJFF (talk) 19:51, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
I am not totally against having this infobox, provided that all parameters that are not applicable or contain unverifiable information are deleted. The problem is that - from my experience - infoboxes attract a certain type of editors, who do not like to research reliable sources or occupy themselves with a subject in detail, but simply drop some keywords in the infobox, without having real knowledge about the subject, without citing references to make the content verifiable and in some cases - like this one - leading to an infobox whose content does not correspond with the actual article and even has information that contradicts the content of the article's body. Based on my experience infoboxes often act as honeypots that attract unfounded, unverifiable edits and additions. For some reason these users have greater restraints to edit the article's prose than the infobox. Therefore my favourite solution would be to delete the infobox altogether, because no user can guarantee to keep it clean of unverifiable information added by casual contributors who do not bother to go into the subject in detail and provide reliable sources for their theories. --RJFF (talk) 20:05, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Hi Dhtwiki - I think that RJFF is correct, in that the info box as currently presented is wrong on a number of fronts. I'll let people with more experience using info boxes decide what's possible, but I agree that in theory we could use a modified info box so long as the information is carefully sourced using modern scholarship. It's true that calling the French Revolutionary Army the "paramilitary wing" of the Jacobin Club is way off. And I'm curious as to whether we can establish what the official Jacobin religion was - since they were actually incredibly diverse in their views socially and politically, and Robespierre, at one end of the spectrum, only represents one faction in the club.
This relates to a greater problem, which is that this article is in a pitiful shape compared to what it could be (neither of your faults!). One section from the French page is well cited, and maybe I could bring material from there, if I ever have time. -Darouet (talk) 21:55, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
  1. Secularism is not a religion, but a policy. Even if the Jacobins were secular, it would not belong in the religion field.
  2. That the Jacobin Club was committed to Deism is unsourced, needs a reference per WP:V
  3. That the Jacobins' "official" ideology was Jacobinism is highly dubious. The term Jacobinism was coined after the Jacobin Club, not the other way round.
  4. Liberal democracy is not an ideology, but a form of government. Parties of many different ideologies may exist in a liberal democracy and support liberal democracy.
  5. Constitutionalism, Left-wing nationalism, Radical democracy, Radicalism may or may not be accurate. Anyhow, they are unsourced and should be removed unless a user provides a reference to a reliable source supporting these claims.
  6. The list of presidents is unreferenced. The article about Mirabeau says that he was elected president of the Jacobin Club only in December 1790, this infobox claims that he served from 1789 to 1791. Moreover this article reads "On 8 February 1790 the society became formally constituted on this broader basis by the adoption of the rules drawn up by Barnave, which were issued with the signature of the duc d'Aiguillon, the president", which evidently contradicts the information in the infobox. In the article about Cloots I do not find that he ever was president of the Jacobins, only that he was exluded from them. Neither do I find in the article about Barras or in Thermidorian Reaction that Barras became the Jacobins' president after Robespierre. It may or may not be true, anyway it is not verifiable and should therefore be removed until someone provides a reference.
  7. "Vivre libre ou mourir" was a motto generally used during the French Revolution, not only by the Jacobins. It was the tagline of "Le Vieux Cordelier" which was a newspaper opposed to the Jacobins. It may also have been used by the Jacobins. In that case, I do not insist on deleting it.
  8. The Jacobins themselves had "7,000 chapters throughout France, with a membership estimated at a half-million or more". It was a popular organisation. I don't know how many members the Fraternal Society of Patriots of Both Sexes had, probably less. There were some links between the Fraternal Society and the Jacobins, but also with the Cordeliers. I see absolutely no reason why the Fraternal Society should be called the "popular wing" of the Jacobin Club. This is neither mentioned in the one nor the other article.
  9. The French Revolutionary Army was the army of the French First Republic; not the "paramilitary wing" of the Jacobins.

@Dhtwiki: Please feel free to comment on each of these points (and, preferably, to provide references for the information you want to keep, as the onus to establish verifiability is on the user who wants the information in the article, not on the one who doubts it). --RJFF (talk) 22:40, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

Thanks RJFF: agree material should be left out unless it's sourced, and the points you've assembled above provide a good baseline for discussion moving forward. -Darouet (talk) 00:20, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
Secularism may not a religion?, I don't know, but you've also removed Deism and Cult of the Supreme Being, which are less obviously non-religious. The usual procedure if there is unsourced material, is to put up "citation needed" templates, not to remove the information completely. This is not a biography of a living person, and unsourced material doesn't need to come down right away. However, it's the complete removal of the list of presidents that is really too sweeping. Mirabeau certainly should be there, with end date changed to 1790. Following him was a "triumvirate" of people who were evidently most influential, whose names I don't see; but the duc d'Aigillon is mentioned as being president for some of that time. Robespierre certainly deserves his place in the order of leaders, and the dates seem right. Also the club itself seems to still exist, according to French Wikipedia, so the complaint that it is defunct, and not worthy of this particular infobox, is dubious at best. As for the other issues, I may come back to that later. Dhtwiki (talk) 03:29, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
Dhtwiki, a better format for discussion here is answering RJFF's points one at a time, with sources. If you find scholarly material and show that it supports information added in the info box, nobody will be complaining. -Darouet (talk) 04:58, 23 March 2015 (UTC)