Who Were the Jacobins?

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The Jacobins were members of a radical revolutionary society during the French Revolution. They led the Reign of Terror and endorsed other extreme actions between 1789 and 1794. They were based in the Dominican convent in Paris.

From the beginning of the French Revolution, debating societies were set up so the revolutionaries could decide what actions to take against the ruling classes. One of these groups was the Society of the Friends of the Constitution, commonly known as the Jacobin Club because of where they met. There were about 7,000 chapters throughout France. At the peak of their power, the group was the most radical in the revolution. The Jacobins were led by Maximilien de Robespierre, and they controlled the government from June 1793 to July 1794. The Reign of Terror saw tens of thousands of people executed by guillotine.