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Women, the Family, and the "Search for Stability" in Thermidorian France




King, Kaitlen

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis



Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



The Revolutionary Tribunal trials of Jean-Baptiste Carrier and Antoine-Quentin Fouquier-Tinville played a central role in the Thermidorian government’s “search for stability”. In these trials, the Thermidorians sought to avert the blame of the Terror and establish “justice” as the “order of the day,” (re)setting the limits of legitimate use of state power. Through the evidence presented, the Thermidorians developed a more specific vision as to how political and social stability might be ensured going forward. In stories of the violence committed by Carrier, they articulated the danger of women’s involvement in politics. In both trials, they presented the family, with women at its center, as foundational to social stability. The presentation of examples of virtuous female victims of the Terror in the trials arguably created space for women like Thérésia Cabarrus-Tallien to wield political influence after Thermidor, if only within certain limits. The example of Thérésia Cabarrus-Tallien, however, shows that how efforts were shut down in the late 1790s.