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"Avenged Department": the Role of Symbolic Destruction in the Fate of the War in the Vendée
Abstract.The subject of this study is the war in the Vendée (1793-1795), one of the key events of the French Revolution, which ended with the suppression and death of tens of thousands of people. The Republicans perceived the residents of the Vendée through the prism of a certain image system: within the framework of this system, the rebels appeared in the minds of the rest of the French population, as the main enemies of the First Republic. It was so important for the Republicans to put an end to this uprising that they hastened to proclaim the end of the war even before the plan for the reconciliation of the region was approved. The main methods of research of this study are the historical-problematic and systemic approaches that make it possible to study the Republicans' views from the position of imagology and anthropological history. The subject of this article is the Republican views on the Vendée. The scientific novelty of this article is determined by the author's efforts to trace the process of designing mental images in the era of the French Revolution of the 18th century. Based on a wide range of sources, the article puts forward the conclusion that since the beginning of the uprising, the Republicans had principally only discussed ways of fighting the insurgents with force. The Vendée was the first region that placed itself outside the legal field of the Republic and refused to recognize the authority of the National Convention. The Republicans had to find a way to return the Vendée back to the bosom of the state, but the peace option was ruled out because the Vendée, according to the French population, was the concentration of all counter-revolutionary forces. The "symbolic destruction" of the Vendée not only confirmed that the department fell out of the legal field but also strengthened this status. The peaceful discourse was not accepted, since the people of the Vendée ceased to be subjects of law in the eyes of the Republicans and lost the opportunity to return to the bosom of the Republic, except through vengeance.
Keywords: revolt supression, Jean-Baptiste Carrier , National Convention, "colonnes infernales", general Louis Turreau, First Republic, Vendée, France, War in the Vendée, French Revolution
Article was received:17-08-2017
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .