Rules of the Jacobins

In contrast to Le Chapelier’s fears that all clubs, even the Jacobins, actually subverted the political process, the Jacobins saw themselves as ensuring the proper functioning of the constitution and allowing full participation by patriotic citizens in the political process, as seen in this excerpt from the club’s rules drawn up in 1790.


THE Society will be dedicated to spreading truth, defending freedom and the constitution. Its methods will be as honorable as its objectives and openness will be the guarantor of all its initiatives.

For anyone wishing to be admitted to these societies, the primary laws will be fidelity to the constitution and a willingness to defend it, as well as, respect and submission to the powers that it establishes.

Qualifications for entry will be, above all, the love of equality and a deep feeling for the rights of man as made evident by the instinct to protect the weak and oppressed.

Source: Alphonse Aulard, La Société des Jacobins: Recueil de documents pour l'histoire du Club des Jacobins de Paris, 6 vols. (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1889–97), 1:xi.