"Maximilien Robespierre, Master of the Terror." (Yale University Press, 1989), 343. Corrections? During the Terror, the Committee of Public Safety (of which Maximilien de Robespierre was the most prominent member) exercised virtual dictatorial control over the French government. The Reign Of Terror: Was It Justified? Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. They advocated for arrests of those deemed to oppose reforms against those with privilege, and the more militant members would advocate pillage in order to achieve the desired equality. Others, however, cite the earlier time of the September Massacres in 1792, or even July 1789, when the first killing of the revolution occurred. The Committee of Public Safety took actions against both. For other uses, see, "The Terror" redirects here. In contrast, some Parisian workers and small shopkeepers wanted the Revolution On 27 July 1793 Robespierre became part of the Committee of Public Safety. The French Revolution was an important movement in world history.  In his Philosophical Dictionary, Voltaire states, "we are all steeped in weakness and error; let us forgive each other our follies; that is the first law of nature" and "every individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of his opinion, is a monster.". These were the infamous September Massacres when Parisian mobs killed thousands of suspected royalists and set the scene for the events to come, when Madame La … , There was a sense of emergency among leading politicians in France in the summer of 1793 between the widespread civil war and counter-revolution. "Introduction." , Some historians argue that such terror was a necessary reaction to the circumstances. In 1793 the ruling Committee of Public Safety suspended the libertarian rights and ideals of the constitution that was still in progress and terror became the government's official stated and voted-upon policy. Under the pressure of the radical sans-culottes, the Convention accepted to institute a revolutionary army, but refused to make terror the order of the day. "Thermidor" (2nd ed.). On 16 Pluviôse (4 February 1794), the National Convention decreed the abolition of slavery in all of France and in French colonies. The Reign of Terror was characterized by a dramatic rejection of long-held religious authority, its hierarchical structure, and the corrupt and intolerant influence of the aristocracy and clergy. The Dantonists were arrested on 30 March, tried on 3 to 5 April and executed on 5 April. Following the execution of Louis XVI, the more radical revolutionaries, the Jacobins, were concerned that foreign and domestic groups would threaten the continuing of the revolution.  In reaction to the imprisonment of the Girondin deputies, some thirteen departments started the Federalist revolts against the National Convention in Paris, which were ultimately crushed. Terror is nothing more than speedy, severe and inflexible justice; it is thus an emanation of virtue; it is less a principle in itself, than a consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing needs of the patrie [homeland, fatherland]. Merriman, John (2004).  As the war continued and the Reign of Terror began, leaders saw a correlation between using terror and achieving victory. Later laws suspended the rights of suspects to both legal assistance and public trials and mandated execution of all those who were found guilty. Reign of Terror lasted from September 1793 until the fall of Robespierre in 1794. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Under the social contract, the government was required to act for the general will, which represented the interests of everyone rather than a few factions. Bloy, Marjorie. The revolution itself was caused by a combination of factors the led to an economic and social crisis that left the French third class little choice but to revolt. France was in steep debt with a … Document A: Decree Against Profiteers 1. Threatened from within by the movement for federalism and by the civil war in the Vendée in the northwest and threatened at the frontiers by…. What Robespierre calls "terror" is the fear that the justice of exception shall inspire the enemies of the Republic. The screams and spirits weeped inside the walls of Versaille while the queen herself, Marie Antoinette lays on her freshly washed out white covers in sorrow. In Paris a wave of executions followed. France began this war with a large series of defeats, which set a precedent of fear of invasion in the people that would last throughout the war. Many long-held rights and powers were stripped from the church and given to the state. Omissions? #6 Guillotine became known as “The National Razor” Invented by Antoine Louis, guillotine is a device to carry out executions by beheading.It consists of tall upright frame with a heavy blade which is dropped to sever the head of the victim. On October 7th, in Rheims, the sacred oil of Clovis which was used to anoint French kings was smashed. While the sans-culottes did not have direct power, the gathering appeared amid the fear of the significance of the relationship between political figures, and the subjects of the state. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article.  In the time it took for officers of merit to use their new freedoms to climb the chain of command, France suffered. Power in this assembly was divided between the more moderate Girondins, who sought a constitutional monarchy and economic liberalism and favored spreading the Revolution throughout Europe by means of war, and the Montagnards, who preferred a policy of radical egalitarianism. The Reign of Terror (June 1793 – July 1794) was a period in the French Revolution characterized by brutal repression.  In February 1794 in a speech he explains why this "terror" is necessary as a form of exceptional justice in the context of the revolutionary government: If the basis of popular government in peacetime is virtue, the basis of popular government during a revolution is both virtue and terror; virtue, without which terror is baneful; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Even though they were vague laws, people accepted the terror because it helped to combat their feelings of alienation and paranoia in regards to all aspects of the revolution. Maximilien Robespierre, president of the Jacobin Club, was also president of the National Convention and was the most prominent member of the Committee of Public Safety; many credited him with near dictatorial power. The excesses of the Reign of Terror combined with the decreased threat from other countries led to increased opposition to the Committee of Public Safety and to Robespierre himself. , Enlightenment thought emphasized the importance of rational thinking and began challenging legal and moral foundations of society, providing the leaders of the Reign of Terror with new ideas about the role and structure of government. Although the Terror was an extreme set of laws, they were the only permanent rules that existed among the chaos.  The leaders of the Terror tried to address the call for these radical, revolutionary aspirations, while at the same time trying to maintain tight control on the de-Christianization movement that was threatening to the clear majority of the still devoted Catholic population of France. Still uncertain of its position, the committee obtained the Law of 22 Prairial, year II (June 10, 1794), which suspended a suspect’s right to public trial and to legal assistance and left the jury a choice only of acquittal or death. Omeka RSS. Among those charged by the tribunal, about half were acquitted (though the number dropped to about a quarter after the enactment of the Law of 22 Prairial on 10 June 1794). While this series of losses was eventually broken, the reality of what might have happened if they persisted hung over France.  A Festival of Reason was held in the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was renamed "The Temple of Reason", and the old traditional calendar was replaced with a new revolutionary one. In the provinces, representatives on mission and surveillance committees instituted local terrors. They regrouped and planned to attack France. The Convention used this as justification for the course of action to "crush the enemies of the revolution…let the laws be executed…and let liberty be saved. Between his arrest and his execution, Robespierre may have tried to commit suicide by shooting himself, although the bullet wound he sustained, whatever its origin, only shattered his jaw. Accessed 23 October 2018. ), Shusterman, Noah. The ones who don’t offer will be sent to death and that would stop people from following them in their footsteps. Baker, Keith M. François Furet, and Colin Lucas, eds. Maximilien Robespierre, Master of the Terror. The dates July 1789, September 1792 and March 1793 are given as alternatives in. By 1789 the French monarchy was nearly powerless and, for all intensive purposes, the National Assembly was the current government of France. On 10 March 1793 the National Convention set up the Revolutionary Tribunal. The 'sans-culottes' saw popular violence as a political right they held. The Committee's powers were gradually eroded. In, Leopold II, and Frederick William. Other laws set up government control of prices, confiscated lands from those found guilty of failing to support the Revolution, and brought public assistance to the poor and disabled. Favourite answer. "Voltaire, Selections from the Philosophical Dictionary." 175–203 in, Jean-Clément Martin, La machine à fantasmes, Paris, Vendémiaire, 2014, 314 p p. (, Church, William F. 1964. The Terror originated with a centralized political regime that suspended most of the democratic achievements of the revolution, and intended to pursue the revolution on social matters. A Cultural History of the French Revolution. 27 February 2018. "The federalist revolt, the Vendée, and the start of the Terror (summer–fall 1793)." Maximilien Robespierre: Maximilien Robespierre was born May 6, 1758, in Arras, France, and died on July 28, 1794 at the guillotine. On 10 October the Convention decreed that "the provisional government shall be revolutionary until peace." As many as 23,000 more were killed without trial or died in prison. as "The Great Terror" (French: la Grande Terreur). Bertrand Barère exclaimed on 5 September 1793 in the convention: "Let's make terror the order of the day! On 9 September the convention established paramilitary forces, the "revolutionary armies", to force farmers to surrender grain demanded by the government. "War and Terror in French Revolutionary Discourse (1792-1794).". , Violent period during the French Revolution, This article is about the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution.  Today there is consensus amongst historians that the exceptional revolutionary measures continued after the death of Robespierre. After their victory in expelling the Girondins, Parisian militants “regenerated” their own sectional assemblies by purging local moderates, while radicals such as Jacques-René Hébert and Pierre-Gaspard Chaumette tightened their grip on the Paris Commune. They fled. It is called the Reign of Terror because of Robespierre. Its purpose was to purge France of enemies of the Revolution and protect the country from foreign invaders. Reign of Terror, period of the French Revolution from September 5, 1793, to July 27, 1794, during which the Revolutionary government decided to take harsh measures against those suspected of being enemies of the Revolution (nobles, priests, and hoarders). 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