Robespierre and the Festival of the Supreme Being

The search for a republican morality

By Jonathan Smyth

Robespierre and the Festival of the Supreme Being


  • Hardcover
  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0381-9
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: September 2016
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Europe / France, HISTORY / General, Modern History, Religion, History, History, Humanities / Religion & politics, French Revolution, Humanities / European history, Religion & politics, The French Revolution, France, Revolutions, uprisings, rebellions, European history, RELIGION / History, HISTORY / Revolutionary
  • Series: Studies in Modern French and Francophone History


The search for a republican morality provides an exciting new study of an important event in the French Revolution and a defining moment in the career of its principal actor, Maximilien Robespierre, the Festival of the Supreme Being. This day of national celebration was held to inaugurate the new state religion, the Cult of the Supreme Being, and whilst traditionally it has been dismissed as a compulsory political event, this book redefines its importance as a hugely popular national event. Hitherto unused or disregarded source material is used to offer new perspective to the national reaction to Robespierre's creation of the Festival and of his search for a new republican morality. It is the first ever detailed study in English of this area of French Revolutionary history, the first in any language since 1988 and will be welcomed by scholars and students of this period.


1. Towards a new republican morality
2. The national response to Robespierre's proclamation
3. The celebrations in the capital
4. The celebrations outside Paris
5. Financing a national festival
6. Contemporary comments on the Festival
7. After the Festival


Jonathan Smyth is Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London

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