[a], The term of "Terror" to describe a period was forged by the Thermidorian Reaction who took power after the fall of Maximilien Robespierre in July 1794,[1][2] to discredit Robespierre and justify their actions. Merriman, John (2004). It ended on July 27, 1794 when Robespierre was removed from power and executed. [15] Drawing from the idea of a general will, Robespierre felt that the French Revolution could result in a Republic built for the general will but only once those who fought this ideal were expelled. On 22 Prairial (10 June), the National Convention passed a law proposed by Georges Couthon, known as the Law of 22 Prairial, which simplified the judicial process and greatly accelerated the work of the Revolutionary Tribunal. The Committee's powers were gradually eroded. They had, between them, made the Law of 22 Prairial one of the charges against him, so that, after his fall, to advocate terror would be seen as adopting the policy of a convicted enemy of the republic, putting the advocate's own head at risk. Laws were passed that defined those who should be arrested as counterrevolutionaries, and committees of surveillance were set up to identify suspects and issue arrest warrants. Reign of Terror. By 1789 the French monarchy was nearly powerless and, for all intensive purposes, the National Assembly was the current government of France. It was ratified by public referendum, but never put into force. In response to what they viewed to be the meddling of foreign powers, France declared war on 20 April 1792. (Yale University Press, 1989), 343. On September 5, 1793, the Convention decreed that “terror is the order of the day” and resolved that opposition to the Revolution needed to be crushed and eliminated so that the Revolution could succeed. In any case, Robespierre was guillotined the next day, together with Saint-Just, Couthon and his brother Augustin Robespierre. Although the Terror was an extreme set of laws, they were the only permanent rules that existed among the chaos. The Committee of Public Safety took actions against both. The “Great Terror” that followed, in which about 1,400 persons were executed, contributed to the fall of Robespierre on July 27 (9 Thermidor). Soboul cited in Mona Ozouf. For example, the sans-culottes sent letters and petitions to the Committee of Public Safety urging them to protect their interests and rights with measures such as taxation of foodstuffs that favored workers over the rich. On October 7th, in Rheims, the sacred oil of Clovis which was used to anoint French kings was smashed. The last prisoners awaiting execution during the Reign of Terror in 1794, undated engraving. The Reign of Terror. On 29 September, the Convention extended price fixing from grain and bread to other essential goods, and also fixed wages. It marked the first time that the lowest class in a country had overthrown the highest class. Yahoo Search. No matter what the French may claim, if one chooses to open his eyes and read about this tragedy, they are most certainly welcome. With civil war spreading from the Vendée and hostile armies surrounding France on all sides, the Revolutionary government decided to make “Terror” the order of the day (September 5 decree) and to take harsh measures against those suspected of being enemies of the Revolution (nobles, priests, and hoarders). The National Convention was bitterly split between the Montagnards and the Girondins. On 10 November (20 Brumaire Year II of the French Republican Calendar), the Hébertists organized a Festival of Reason. Bloy, Marjorie. According to French historian Jean-Clément Martin there was no "system of terror" instated by the Convention between 1793 and 1794, despite the pressure from some of its members and the sans-culottes. The reign of terror, the period in the French revolution when around forty thousand people lost their lives in the name of the revolution was the climax of the French Revolution. Plato’s Republic was a roadmap to justify the City-State. [29] As the war continued and the Reign of Terror began, leaders saw a correlation between using terror and achieving victory. Voltaire's warnings were often overlooked, though some of his ideas were used for justification of the Revolution and the start of the Terror. [31] Once the Montagnards gained control of the National Convention, they began demanding radical measures. Georges Danton was one of the foremost radical leaders during the French Revolution. Discontent in the Vendée lasted – according to some accounts—until after the Terror. Massive reforms of military institutions, while very effective in the long run, presented the initial problems of inexperienced forces and leaders of questionable political loyalty. In the provinces, representatives on mission and surveillance committees instituted local terrors. 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. The major Hébertists were tried before the Revolutionary Tribunal and executed on 24 March. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The Reign of Terror occurred from September of 1793 until July of 1794, and was a time period of extreme violence and paranoia during the French Revolution. [10][5], Some historians argue that such terror was a necessary reaction to the circumstances. The Reign of Terror was a continuation of the revolution that began in 1789. "Robespierre and the French Revolution,", This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 09:28. [26] This series of defeats, coupled with militant uprisings and protests within the borders of France, pushed the government to resort to drastic measures to ensure the loyalty of every citizen, not only to France but more importantly to the Revolution. 175–203 in, Jean-Clément Martin, La machine à fantasmes, Paris, Vendémiaire, 2014, 314 p p. (, Church, William F. 1964. "War and Terror in French Revolutionary Discourse (1792-1794).". On 16 Pluviôse (4 February 1794), the National Convention decreed the abolition of slavery in all of France and in French colonies. "The First Coalition 1793-1797." "[19][20] This was, in fact, the same virtue defined by Montesquieu almost 50 years prior. Georges Danton, the leader of the August 1792 uprising against the king, was removed from the Committee of Public Safety on 10 July 1793. The Reign of Terror: Was it Justified? "[21], Though some members of the Enlightenment greatly influenced revolutionary leaders, cautions from other Enlightenment thinkers were blatantly ignored. On 14 Frimaire (5 December 1793) the National Convention passed the Law of Frimaire, which gave the central government more control over the actions of the representatives on mission. Baskets full with several heads, countless corpses, and terror, roamed the streets of France. In July 1794 Robespierre was arrested and executed as were many of his fellow Jacobins, thereby ending the Reign of Terror, which was succeeded by the Thermidorian Reaction. What Robespierre calls "terror" is the fear that the justice of exception shall inspire the enemies of the Republic. This activity asks students to look beyond the “chopping block” to discover the political motivations of the man behind the Terror: Maximilien Robespierre. On 10 March 1793 the National Convention set up the Revolutionary Tribunal. The arrest of Maximilien Robespierre, July 27, 1794. "During the Reign of Terror, at least 300,000 suspects were arrested; 17,000 were officially executed, and perhaps 10,000 died in prison or without trial."[6]. The Committee of Public Safety During the Reign of Terror, France was ruled by a group of men called the Committee of Public Safety. Favourite answer. Accessed 23 October 2018. These criticisms were often used by revolutionary leaders as justification for their dechristianisation reforms. 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…. With the backing of the national guard, they persuaded the convention to arrest 29 Girondist leaders. [9] 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. The result was a continual push towards Terror. Accessed 26 October 2018. While this series of losses was eventually broken, the reality of what might have happened if they persisted hung over France. A Web of English History. The Reign of Terror is a well-known component of the French Revolution, mostly due to the excessive use of the guillotine to preserve the Revolution. Toward the end of the Reign of Terror, Danton was accused of various financial misdeeds, as well as using his position within the Revolution for personal gain. Ozouf, Mona. On 2 June 1793 the Parisian sans-culottes surrounded the National Convention, calling for administrative and political purges, a low fixed-price for bread, and a limitation of the electoral franchise to sans-culottes alone. It is the contention of this "Reign of Terror" series to provide accounts and evidence that the nation has endured under a shadow government of ruling elites; especially, since the elimination of a President, who dared challenge the interests of the true masters of the establishment. Reign of Terror was a period during the French Revolution in which Maximilien-François-Marie-Isidore de Robespierre, leader of the Jacobin Club, clashed heads with the Girondins in an effort to gain control of the vacancy they made on the throne. Though some members of the Enlightenment greatly influenced revolutionary leaders, cautions from other Enlightenment thinkers were blatantly ignored. 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. 224 Chapter 7 In addition, factions outside the Legislative Assembly wanted to influence the direction of the government too. Jeremy D. Popkin, A Short History of the French Revolution, (London: Routledge, 2016), 64. They fled to neighbouring states like Austria, Prussia, and from where they became Émigrés. "Thermidor" (2nd ed.). The Reign of Terror (June 1793 – July 1794) was a period in the French Revolution characterized by brutal repression. 27 February 2018. The ones who don’t offer will be sent to death and that would stop people from following them in their footsteps. 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. Its purpose was to purge France of enemies of the Revolution and protect the country from foreign invaders. [citation needed], The fall of Robespierre was brought about by a combination of those who wanted more power for the Committee of Public Safety (and a more radical policy than he was willing to allow) and the moderates who completely opposed the revolutionary government. On 8 and 13 Ventôse (26 February and 3 March 1794), Saint-Just proposed decrees to confiscate the property of exiles and opponents of the revolution, known as the Ventôse Decrees. [3] Today there is consensus amongst historians that the exceptional revolutionary measures continued after the death of Robespierre. Reign of Terror lasted from September 1793 until the fall of Robespierre in 1794. On 27 July 1793 Robespierre became part of the Committee of Public Safety. Maximilien Robespierre: Maximilien Robespierre was born May 6, 1758, in Arras, France, and died on July 28, 1794 at the guillotine. [27] While the French military had stabilized and was producing victories by the time the Reign of Terror officially began, the pressure to succeed in this international struggle acted as justification for the government to pursue its actions. Well phrased by Albert Soboul, "terror, at first an improvised response to defeat, once organized became an instrument of victory. France was in steep debt with a … A combination of food scarcity and rising prices led to the overthrow of the Girondins and increased the popular support of the Montagnards, who created the Committee of Public Safety to deal with the various crises. The Reign of Terror took place during the brief period of rule of the urban workers, or 'sans-culottes' , called the Jacobin government because of their alliance with the political Jacobin Club. History of France § Counter-revolution subdued (July 1793–April 1794), History of France § Revolutionary France (1789–1799), France § Revolutionary France (1789–1799), Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Robespierre and the terror: Marisa Linton reviews the life and career of one of the most vilified men in history", "Maximilien Robespierre: On the Principles of Political Morality, February 1794", Maximilien Robespierre: Justification of the Use of Terror, Montesquieu: The Spirit of the Laws, 1748, 9 Thermidor: The Conspiracy against Robespierre, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Voltaire, Selections from the 'Philosophical Dictionary', https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2014/entries/montesquieu/, http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199959853.001.0001/acprof-9780199959853-chapter-8, "Maximilien Robespierre | Biography, Facts, & Execution", L’armée de l’an II : la levée en masse et la création d’un mythe républicain, http://www.historyhome.co.uk/c-eight/france/coalit1.htm, https://alphahistory.com/frenchrevolution/declaration-of-pillnitz-1791/, http://people.loyno.edu/~history/journal/1983-4/mcletchie.htm#22, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/montesquieu-spirit.asp, "The Absolutism of Louis XIV as Social Collaboration: Review Article", "Robespierre and the terror: Marisa Linton reviews the life and career of one of the most vilified men in history, (Maximilien Robespierre)(Biography)", https://link.springer.com/book/10.1057%2F9780230294981, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, François Alexandre Frédéric, duc de la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau, Alexandre-Théodore-Victor, comte de Lameth, Louis Michel le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, List of people associated with the French Revolution, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Reign_of_Terror&oldid=1000495051, Short description is different from Wikidata, History articles needing translation from French Wikipedia, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2020, Articles needing additional references from September 2017, All articles needing additional references, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from January 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Many long-held rights and powers were stripped from the church and given to the state. #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. 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. "Voltaire, Selections from the Philosophical Dictionary." The trial of the Girondins started on the same day, they were executed on 31 October. French Revolution. [citation needed], For a long time it was considered that the Terror ended on 9 Thermidor year II (27 July 1794) with the fall of Robespierre and his supporters and their execution the following day. (1987), Shulim, Joseph I. Bertrand Barère exclaimed on 5 September 1793 in the convention: "Let's make terror the order of the day! [11] Others suggest there were additional causes, including ideological[12] and emotional. In September 1793 price controls were extended to other staple consumer goods, and the armées révolutionnaireswere cre… Likewise, all those who wanted changes in England, Ireland, the German states, the Austrian…, After the fall of the Girondins, the Montagnards were left to deal with the country’s desperate position. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. "Terror, Vengeance, and Martyrdom in the French Revolution: THE CASE OF THE SHADES - Oxford Scholarship", 2014, accessed 1 May 2018. Goods, and Terror in French revolutionary Discourse reign of terror significance 1792-1794 ). never put into.. Lasted from September 1793 in the foreign-language article Safety, which developed into civil. 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