The judicial reaction in south-eastern France, 1794-1800
The thesis investigates and analyses the hitherto neglected phenomenon of political reaction within the judiciary of south-eastern France during the period between the Thermidorian Reaction and the advent of the Consulate. The character, objectives and effects of the 'reaction judiciaire1 are studied through a series of different perspectives. The first task is to highlight the discrepancy between the concepts of the social and political effects of a revamped judicial system formulated during the Year III and the corrupt abuse of judicial power by reactionary provincial judges. Indeed, the study constantly seeks to explore the conceptual as well as the practical damage inflicted on the Directorial regime by the supposed trustees of the post-Terrorist republican settlement. Emphasis is placed upon the collaboration between the southern judges and the counter-revolutionary elements within the local community, especially in the discussion of the origins of the judicial reaction. The changes of technique and of objective which the judiciary experienced are explored in full. It is described from its beginnings as a weapon of retribution for the aggrieved local community against the former agents of the Terror to its role in the subversion of regional jacobinism to its support for the period of unchecked counter-revolution during the Year V and finally to its function as a 'rearguard' defender of arrested counter- revolutionaries during the period of the Second Directory. In addition, due consideration is given to the motivation of individual judges who operated the reaction. It is hoped that the thesis has provided a model for the study of the causes, techniques and aims of political reaction from within an independent state power. Furthermore, it is hoped that the work is seminal in its suggestion that judicial reaction and its many ramifications had both a direct and indirect bearing upon the fall of the Directory.