The Plain

The Plain (French: La Plaine), better known as The Marsh (French: Le Marais), was a political group in the French National Convention during the French Revolution. Its members were known as Maraisards, or derogatory Toads (French: Crapauds) as toads live in marshes. They sat between the Girondists' right-wing and Montagnards' left-wing. None of these three groups was an organized party as is known today. The Mountain and the Girondists did consist of individuals with similar views and agendas who socialized together and often coordinated political plans. However, The Plain consisted of delegates that did not belong to either of these two groups and as such was even more amorphous. The Plain constituted the majority of delegates to the Convention and would vote with either the Girondists or Mountain depending on the issue at hand, the current circumstances and mood of the Convention. They initially sided with the Girondists, but later backed the Mountain in executing Louis XVI and inaugurating the Terror. They later abandoned the Mountain, inaugurating the Thermidorian Reaction.

The Plain

La Plaine
LeaderEmmanuel Joseph Sieyès
Founded6 September 1791 (1791-09-06)
Dissolved2 November 1795 (1795-11-02)
HeadquartersTuileries Palace, Paris
NewspaperJournal des débats
Political clubJacobin Club
(many affiliated)
IdeologyBig tent
Political syncretism
Political positionCentre
Colors     Grey

Electoral results

Legislative Assembly
Election year No. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1791 1,978,000 (1st) 46.3
345 / 745
Jean Bigot de Préameneu
National Convention
1792 1,747,200 (1st) 51.9
389 / 749
Lazare Carnot
Legislative Body
1795 Did not participate Did not participate
200 / 750
Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès


  • Will and Ariel Durant (1975). The Age of Napoleon. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Sylvia Neely (2008). A Concise History of the French Revolution. Lanham – Boulder – New York – Toronto – Plymouth, United Kingdom: Rowman Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Simon Schama (1989). Citizens. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
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