The White Terror (France)


The White Terror (France)

The name White Terror was applied to two similar movements against the French Revolution.

First White Terror

The first White Terror was started by a group in the south of France calling themselves The Companions of Jehu. They planned a double uprising to coincide with invasions by Great Britain in the west and Austria in the east. The movement was crushed by Lazare Hoche at Quiberon, 21 July, 1795.

The White Terror took place in 1794, during the period known as the Thermidorian Reaction, in the aftermath of the Reign of Terror. It was organized by reactionary "Chouan" royalist forces, and was targeted at the radical Jacobins and anyone suspected of supporting them. Throughout France, both real and suspected Jacobins were attacked and often murdered. Just like during the Reign of Terror, trials were held with little regard for due process. In other cases, gangs of youths who had aristocratic connections roamed the streets beating known Jacobins. These "bands of Jesus" dragged suspected terrorists from prisons and murdered them much as alleged royalists had been murdered during the September Massacres of 1792.

econd White Terror

Again, in 1815, following the return of King Louis XVIII of France to power, people suspected of having ties with the governments of the French Revolution or of Napoleon suffered arrest and execution.

Marshal Brune was killed in Avignon, and General J.P. Ramel was assassinated in Toulouse. These actions struck fear in the population, persuading liberal and moderate electors (48,000 of 72,000 total permitted by the census suffrage) to vote for the ultra-royalists. Of 402 members, the first Chamber of the Restoration was composed of 350 ultra-royalists; the king himself thus named it the "Chambre introuvable" ("the Unobtainable Chamber"). The Chamber voted repressive laws, sentencing to death Marshal Ney and Colonel Labédoyère, while 250 people were given prison sentences and some others exiled, including Joseph Fouché, Lazare Carnot, and Cambacérès.

See also

*White Terror


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