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  The Jacobin Club was a society of deputies during the French Revolution, led by Robespierre. It took its name from the Jacobin monastery at Versailles, where it held its first meeting. The Jacobins stood for the establishment of a single, uniform, rational and centralized nation-state, which would be a democratic republic, expressing the sovereignty of the people. Jacobins were entirely hostile to aristocratic privileges and to all feudal forms of government. The sense of Jacobinism, as a belief in a nationally uniform and centralized government, hostile to the division of parcellization of sovereignty remains in current political usage, especially in France.

Robespierre\'s Jacobins established a revolutionary dictatorship when France was at war with and encircled by the reactionary European powers. Their conduct of government, through the Committee of Public Safety, gave rise to a different meaning of Jacobinism in which the Reign of Terror from 1793 to 1794 was seen as the logical end-product. In this sense Jacobinism is understood as a form of élitist insurrectionary politics, in which an élite, possessed of true social and political knowledge, believes itself entitled to seize and hold political power in the name of the people. Thus Jacobinism is used pejoratively to describe groups which advocate the overthrow of the state or régime without regard to the will of the people or the majority and in this sense, Jacobinism is often seen as a forerunner of Bolshevism.

Jacobinism is also sometimes used to describe the practice of those who engage in nation-building, forging national homogeneity out of diverse peoples, without much regard to their consent. BO\'L

See also Marxism; nationalism; sovereignty.



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