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In the French Revolution, representatives-on-mission were deputies sent by the National Convention to the provinces of France in 1793. At the time France was in crisis; not only was war going badly, as French forces were being pushed out of Belgium, but also there was revolt in the Vendée over conscription into the army and resentment of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

Representatives-on-mission had powers to oversee conscription into the army, and were used to monitor local military command.

Representatives on missions were used in the more dramatic cases of urban revolts (seen as one movement and were labelled by the Parisians as “federalism”) in cities such as Nantes, Toulouse, Lyons, Bordeaux and Marseilles. Leaders in Paris saw them as nothing less than royalists who had to be eliminated. The representatives on missions were usually sent out with "unlimited powers" to allow them to accomplish the monumental tasks they faced. Such authority was often abused, and the representatives frequently emerged as the most zealous proponents and executors (literally) of the Terror

82 deputies were sent to the provinces to let people know why emergency measures were necessary and to coordinate those measures. In reality, the representative became a virtual ‘spy’, responsible to check that the generals and officers were doing their utmost for victory civil war

References

Revolution and Reaction: Europe 1789-1849 by Andrew Matthews. ISBN 0-521-56734-3.


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