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Mountain, the

Mountain, the, in French history, the label applied to deputies sitting on the raised left benches in the National Convention during the French Revolution. Members of the faction, known as Montagnards [Mountain Men] saw themselves as the embodiment of national unity. Its followers included Jacobins elected from Paris as well as the Cordeliers and the followers of Jacques Roux. Approximately 300 of the 750 deputies associated themselves with the Mountain. Although party lines were not sharply drawn, the Mountain's opponents were the more moderate Girondists. Prominent Montagnards Robespierre, Georges Danton, and Jean Paul Marat were elected from Paris. The fall of the Girondists (June, 1793) was a victory for the Mountain, whose members ruled France under the Reign of Terror (1793–94). The Montain sponsored the Revolutionary Tribunal, the surveillance committees, the Committee of Public Safety, and the levée en masse. Its deputies went on missions, wielding unlimited powers, to defend the Revolution in the provinces and at the fronts. It was supported by Jacobin propaganda. The fall of Robespierre, 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794), supported by some of the Mountain, split the Mountain and led to its downfall. The romance of the Mountain led the revolutionary left of 1848 to call themselves the Mountain as well. See Plain, the.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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