Publisher description for The gilded youth of Thermidor / Francois Gendron ; translated by James Cookson.


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The jeunesse dore;e, 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 Re;veil du Peuple"), their own affectations of speech, their own regular meeting-places in the cafe;s 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 dore;e, 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 Me;daille d'Argent du Prix Biguet (Acade;mie Française). This translation will be welcomed by English-speaking historians and students of the French Revolution.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
France -- History -- Revolution, 1789-1799.
Youth -- France -- Political activity -- History -- 18th century.