Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview
occasion or motive, those who may excite them by fanatical preaching or by counterrevolutionary insinuations, [or] those who may provoke them by unjust and gratuitous violence, shall likewise be punished with the severity of the law.
2. A special report upon the provisions of detail relative to the present decree shall be made.
3. A festival in honor of the Supreme Being shall be celebrated upon 20 Prairial next.

David is charged to present the plan thereof to the National Convention.4

Source: Gazette Nationale ou Le Moniteur Universel, Nonidi 19 Floréal, Fan 2 (Jeudi 8 Mai 1794, vieux style).


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

A. Aulard, Le culte de la raison et le culte de l'Être suprÊme ( 1793- 1794) ( Paris, 1904).

A. Mathiez, Les origines des cultes révolutionnaires ( Paris, 1904).

References for Document 28.


36
Thermidorean Settlement: Separation Decree and Constitution of the Year III (Extracts) February 21, 1795 (3 Ventôse, Year III); August 22, 1795 (5 Fructidor, Year III)

In the Thermidorean reaction following the fall of Robespierre and the dismantling of the Terror, the Convention adopted a policy of cautious toleration of religion accompanied by suspicious surveillance and regulation. The approach was tersely stated in two brief documents. The Decree of February 21, 1795, at last ended the pretense of a state church; it ostensibly granted religious liberty but was primarily concerned with restrictions and limitations to be imposed upon it. (A later decree of May 30, 1795 [11 Prairial, Year III], permitted provisional free use [under communal control] of those nonalienated church buildings that had been used for worship in September 1793.) Six months later the Constitution of the Year III established the Directory. Though the longest of the three revolutionary constitutions, this document treated religion only briefly in Article 354.

The measure of freedom granted by this policy was accompanied by some revival of both Constitutional and Nonjuring churches, though some local persecutions continued and official harassment intensified again in 1797.

____________________
4
Jacques-Louis David ( 1748-1825), artist and revolutionary.

-90-

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