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The Age of the Democratic RevolutionA Political History of Europe and America, 1760-1800$
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R. R. Palmer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161280

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161280.001.0001

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The French Directory between Extremes

The French Directory between Extremes

(p.544) Chapter XXIII The French Directory between Extremes
The Age of the Democratic Revolution

R. R. Palmer

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the extreme Left of the French Revolution led by an obscure journalist who called himself “Gracchus” Babeuf and his co-worker Philippe Buonarroti, a French citizen of Italian birth, and their Conspiracy of Equals of 1796. The Conspiracy of Equals has always been looked back on with respectful interest by partisans of the modern Left, as the first manifestation of the revolutionary movement of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. How far the Conspiracy was “communistic” remains uncertain. But even the inner leadership had diverse aims, and the whole movement was so secret and so short-lived that the secondary organizers, not to mention the ordinary followers, never knew who the leaders were or what their purposes might be.

Keywords:   France, French Revolution, political left, Conspiracy of Equals, Babeuf, democracy, communism, revolutionary movement

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