Front Page Titles (by Subject) 133.: Girondists and Jacobins - Judgments on History and Historians
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133.: Girondists and Jacobins - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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Girondists and Jacobins
Earlier presentations of the French Revolution have followed more closely the history of the great state assemblies, the Constituent Assembly, the Legislative Assembly, and the National Convention.
But since Taine we have known that through the rapid decay of the old state, starting in 1789, the country had in large measure escaped any central direction and that the social revolution had everywhere followed the political one. But the major part of the nation, the losers as well as the winners, wanted to retain monarchy.
However, the Legislative Assembly and its chief orators, the Girondists, press toward the republic out of abstract hatred and declare war on foreign countries, mainly in order to topple the crown—from April 20 to August 10, 1792.
And only now, particularly between the 2nd and the 4th of September, does it begin to surprise the Girondists that right beside them there has come into being a far superior new power, one that mocks at their enthusiasm, a true power: the will of Paris clubs in their connection and close correspondence with the club members in the provinces. Its components are the sections and the Commune of Paris, the hired thugs, the Jacobins and Cordeliers, and, as a bureau d’enregistrement [registry], the Convention under the pressure of the tribunes, as well as the local clubs in all of France.
This force deprives the Girondists particularly of the exploitation of the foreign war as an instrument of internal rule; it forces them to vote in favor of the king’s death; it simply outdoes them in everything that looks bold and wicked, and brilliantly masters the now recognized terror, after the Girondists, too, had formerly threatened with the sanctity of the people’s wrath.
With the extremely faulty conduct of the war and the intentional disorganization of the army these Jacobins are able to appear as the saviors of France from foreign countries, especially since the people do not know how deeply disunited the cabinets of the Coalition and their conduct of the war really are. And the Jacobins do govern internally, albeit dreadfully, i.e., the old resources of existence are consumed, the assignats run into the billions, the actual and potential adversaries of each class are driven out or imprisoned.
This sort of thing does not last long, but it does last needlessly long enough to extinguish the light of the beaux diseurs et gens à procédés [fine talkers and people with programs]. But the Girondists still do their deadly enemies the favor of participating, until the end of May, 1793, in a lot of decisions devised for their own perdition.