Both the émigré leadership and the revolutionary governments made assumptions about popular royalism which clouded their judgement either in trying to suppress it or take advantage of it. Both made the same error in failing to recognise its genuine popular roots. It was an autonomous movement, with its own leadership, its own aspirations and grievances. Revolutionary governments readily fell back on a conspiracy theory, or a peasantry corrupted by superstition, priesthood and aristocracy. This seemed the only explanation of such blindness to the benefits of Revolution. The answer to this, as it appeared to the often desperate authorities, was the wholesale slaughter or removal of the population, just as Fréron and Barras had advised in 1793 in the case of the people of Marseilles, an equally inexplicable and intractable problem. The lessons had to be painfully learned before the right combination of military force and political concession brought the risings in the West to an end. The Midi was to remain, even more than the West, a focal point of active popular royalism well into the restoration period although, since Counter-Revolution did not become an expression of its cultural identity and it was a more divided region, it was not marked to the same enduring extent by the revolutionary upheavals.
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