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The Gilded Youth of Thermidor François Gendron

The Gilded Youth of Thermidor

François Gendron

Published March 5th 1993
ISBN : 9780773509023
Hardcover
232 pages
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 About the Book 

The jeunesse dorée, or gilded youth, were a parallel militia recruited from the ranks of minor officials and small shopkeepers. They formed a distinctive subculture, defined by age and social origin, with their own forms of extravagant dress, theirMoreThe jeunesse dorée, or gilded youth, were a parallel militia recruited from the ranks of minor officials and small shopkeepers. They formed a distinctive subculture, defined by age and social origin, with their own forms of extravagant dress, their own anthem (Le Réveil du Peuple), their own affectations of speech, their own regular meeting-places in the cafés of the Palais-Royal, and even their own passwords, which were usually indirect references to Louis XVII. Gendron sees them as the shock-troops of the Thermidorian Convention, encouraged and sometimes employed by its Committee of General Security to force the pace of the reaction against the terrorists, the sans-culottes. This provocation led to the uprisings of Germinal and Prairial and the consequent eviction of the sans-culottes from the political arena. Social historians such as Albert Soboul have written mainly about the sans-culottes at the peak of the Revolution. In focusing on the jeunesse dorée, Gendron highlights the ways in which, although initially used as a means to counteract the revolts of the sans-culottes, they were to become one of the driving forces of the reaction, carrying the Convention well beyond its political aims. This work, available in French since 1979, won the Médaille dArgent du Prix Biguet (Académie Française). This translation will be welcomed by English-speaking historians and students of the French Revolution.