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The Probert Encyclopaedia of General Information

JACOBINISM

Jacobinism, as a belief in a nationally uniform and centralised 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 elitist insurrectionary politics, in which an elite 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 regime 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.
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