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. With the backing of the national guard, they persuaded the convention to arrest 29 Girondist leaders. New members were appointed the day after Robespierre's execution, and limits on terms of office were fixed (a quarter of the committee retired every three months). It is called the Reign of Terror because of Robespierre. 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. The Terror had an economic side embodied in the Maximum, a price-control measure demanded by the lower classes of Paris, and a religious side that was embodied in the program of de-Christianization pursued by the followers of Jacques Hébert. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. 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. The Committee's powers were gradually eroded.  By then, 16,594 official death sentences had been dispensed throughout France since June 1793, of which 2,639 were in Paris alone; and an additional 10,000 died in prison, without trial, or under both of these circumstances. 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…. Baker, Keith M. François Furet, and Colin Lucas, eds. 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.  With so many similarities to the first days of the Revolutionary Wars for the French government, with threats on all sides, unification of the country became a top priority. Internet History Sourcebooks. The young men shall fight; the married man shall forge arms and transport provisions; the women shall make tents and clothes and shall serve in the hospitals; the children shall pick rags to lint [for bandages]; the old men shall betake themselves to the public square in order to arouse the courage of the warriors and preach hatred of kings and the unity of the Republic. Reign of Terror. On 10 November (20 Brumaire Year II of the French Republican Calendar), the Hébertists organized a Festival of Reason. The French republican calendar was adopted as part of a program of de-Christianization. Bloy, Marjorie. 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. These criticisms were often used by revolutionary leaders as justification for their dechristianisation reforms. Accessed 23 October 2018. 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. As many as 23,000 more were killed without trial or died in prison. 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). (Yale University Press, 1989), 343. "Voltaire, Selections from the Philosophical Dictionary." Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Yahoo Search. ), Shusterman, Noah. "Introduction." 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. After the beginning of the French Revolution, the surrounding monarchies did not show great hostility towards the rebellion. 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. 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. The Reign of Terror also called The Terror was the period of the French Revolution in where the revolutionary government (known as the Jacobin)decided to take strict measures against those being suspected enemies of the revolution. 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]. No matter what the French may claim, if one chooses to open his eyes and read about this tragedy, they are most certainly welcome. Today historians are more nuanced. Voltaire's warnings were often overlooked, though some of his ideas were used for justification of the Revolution and the start of the Terror. On 17 September, the Law of Suspects was passed, which authorized the imprisonment of vaguely defined "suspects". Merriman, John (2004). In September 1793 price controls were extended to other staple consumer goods, and the armées révolutionnaireswere cre… Georges-Jacques Danton, one of the great revolutionary leaders, was also denounced and executed. By the end of 1793, two major factions had emerged, both threatening the Revolutionary Government: the Hébertists, who called for an intensification of the Terror and threatened insurrection, and the Dantonists, led by Georges Danton, who demanded moderation and clemency. 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. The major Hébertists were tried before the Revolutionary Tribunal and executed on 24 March. The tension sparked by these conflicting objectives laid a foundation for the "justified" use of terror to achieve revolutionary ideals and rid France of the religiosity that revolutionaries believed was standing in the way. The Reign of Terror instituted the conscripted army, which saved France from invasion by other countries and in that sense preserved the Revolution. Jeremy D. Popkin, A Short History of the French Revolution, (London: Routledge, 2016), 64. 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. In any case, Robespierre was guillotined the next day, together with Saint-Just, Couthon and his brother Augustin Robespierre. Alternatively, he may have been shot by the gendarme Merda. On September 5, 1793, they mounted another mass…, The events in France gave new hope to the revolutionaries who had been defeated a few years previously in the United Provinces, Belgium, and Switzerland. 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.  Others suggest there were additional causes, including ideological and emotional.  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. 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. On 10 October the Convention decreed that "the provisional government shall be revolutionary until peace." Moreover, the sans-culottes, the urban workers of France, agitated leaders to inflict punishments on those who opposed the interests of the poor.  This process began with the fall of the monarchy, an event that effectively defrocked the State of its sanctification by the clergy via the doctrine of Divine Right and ushered in an era of reason.. 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. On 10 March 1793 the National Convention set up the Revolutionary Tribunal. Its purpose was to purge France of enemies of the Revolution and protect the country from foreign invaders. 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. Anti-clerical sentiments increased during 1793 and a campaign of dechristianization occurred.  In the time it took for officers of merit to use their new freedoms to climb the chain of command, France suffered. In 1789, church lands were expropriated and priests killed or forced to leave France. On 8 Messidor (26 June 1794), the French army won the Battle of Fleurus, which marked a turning point in France's military campaign and undermined the necessity of wartime measures and the legitimacy of the Revolutionary Government. In, Leopold II, and Frederick William. "Robespierre, "On Political Morality"," Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, accessed 19 October 2018, Rothenberg, Gunther E. "The Origins, Causes, and Extension of the Wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon.". An execution by guillotine during the Reign of Terror, depicted in, France: The French Revolution and Napoleon, 1789–1815. , 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. , On 23 August 1793 the National Convention decreed the levée en masse:, Les jeunes gens iront au combat ; les hommes mariés forgeront les armes et transporteront les subsistances ; les femmes feront des tentes et serviront dans les hôpitaux ; les enfants mettront le vieux linge en charpie ; les vieillards se feront porter sur les places publiques pour exciter le courage des guerriers, prêcher la haine des rois et l’unité de la République. 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. 224 Chapter 7 In addition, factions outside the Legislative Assembly wanted to influence the direction of the government too. Michel Biard et Hervé Leuwers, " Visages de la Terreur ", dans Michel Biard et Hervé Leuwers (dir. Discontent in the Vendée lasted – according to some accounts—until after the Terror. "War and Terror in French Revolutionary Discourse (1792-1794).". 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. On 16 Pluviôse (4 February 1794), the National Convention decreed the abolition of slavery in all of France and in French colonies. Accessed 23 October 2018. Pp. Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws defines a core principle of a democratic government: virtue—described as "the love of laws and of our country. 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. Montesquieu. Voltaire's warnings were often overlooked, though some of his ideas were used for justification of the Revolution and the start of the Terror. 27 August 1791. Omeka RSS. However, for the most part, it destabilized the country, rather than solidifying the gains of the Revolution and leading to a virtuous and happy republic, as its authors had hoped. On October 7th, in Rheims, the sacred oil of Clovis which was used to anoint French kings was smashed. Ozouf, Mona.  The sans-culottes fed the frenzy of instability and chaos by utilizing popular pressure during the Revolution. "Thermidor" (2nd ed.). Configuración Many of the early battles were definitive losses for the French. The Reign of Terror was a continuation of the revolution that began in 1789. 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. On 27 August 1791, these foreign leaders made the Pillnitz Declaration, saying they would restore the French monarch if other European rulers joined. The Reign of Terror, commonly The Terror (French: la Terreur), was a period of the French Revolution when, following the creation of the First French Republic, a series of massacres and numerous public executions took place in response to revolutionary fervour, anticlerical sentiment, and accusations of treason by the Committee of Public Safety.  The members of the convention were determined to avoid street violence such as the September Massacres of 1792 by taking violence into their own hands as an instrument of government.. By the spring of 1793, the war was going badly, and France found itself surrounded by hostile powers while counterrevolutionary insurrections were spreading outward from the Vendée. 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. About 300,000 people were arrested, and 17,000 of them were tried and executed. For other uses, see, Significant civil and political events by year. The sans-culottes' violently demonstrated, pushing their demands and creating constant pressure for the Montagnards to enact reform. They fled to neighbouring states like Austria, Prussia, and from where they became Émigrés. , The writings of Baron de Montesquieu, another Enlightenment thinker of the time, greatly influenced Robespierre as well. During the Reign of Terror, the sans-culottes and the Hébertists put pressure on the National Convention delegates and contributed to the overall instability of France. He opposes the idea of terror as the order of the day, defending instead "justice" as the order of the day. Well phrased by Albert Soboul, "terror, at first an improvised response to defeat, once organized became an instrument of victory. The French Revolution was an important movement in world history.  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. ", Though some members of the Enlightenment greatly influenced revolutionary leaders, cautions from other Enlightenment thinkers were blatantly ignored. As a result, he decided to weed out those he believed could never possess this virtue. With the enactment of the law, the number of executions greatly increased, and the period from this time to the Thermidorian Reaction became known[by whom?] 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. In the provinces, representatives on mission and surveillance committees instituted local terrors. Accessed 26 October 2018. Plato’s Republic was a roadmap to justify the City-State. , There was a sense of emergency among leading politicians in France in the summer of 1793 between the widespread civil war and counter-revolution. Georges Danton was one of the foremost radical leaders during the French Revolution. The Committee of Public Safety took actions against both. , Rousseau's Social Contract argued that each person was born with rights, and they would come together in forming a government that would then protect those rights. (Contextualization) Why did the Committee of Public Safety pass the Decree Against Profiteers? Reign of Terror lasted from September 1793 until the fall of Robespierre in 1794. There is disagreement among historians over when exactly "the Terror" began. The Reign of Terror, or the Great Terror, was a massive culmination to the horror of the French Revolution, the gutters flowing with blood as the people of Paris watched with an ntertained eye. The National Convention was bitterly split between the Montagnards and the Girondins. While this series of losses was eventually broken, the reality of what might have happened if they persisted hung over France. , 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. The great confusion that arose during the storming of the municipal Hall of Paris, where Robespierre and his friends had found refuge, makes it impossible to be sure of the wound's origin.  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. New members were appointed the day after Robespierre's execution, and limits on terms of office were fixed (a quarter of the committee retired every three months). Émigrés (EHM•ih•GRAYZ), nobles and others who had fled France, hoped to undo the Revolution and restore the Old Regime. The result was a continual push towards Terror. On 29 September, the Convention extended price fixing from grain and bread to other essential goods, and also fixed wages. He protested against Catholic dogmas and the ways of Christianity, stating, "of all religions, the Christian should, of course, inspire the most toleration, but till now the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men." The Dantonists were arrested on 30 March, tried on 3 to 5 April and executed on 5 April. Bertrand Barère exclaimed on 5 September 1793 in the convention: "Let's make terror the order of the day! Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. 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 … Maximilien Robespierre, Master of the Terror. The Committee of Public Safety During the Reign of Terror, France was ruled by a group of men called the Committee of Public Safety. 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. The Coalition, consisting of Russia, Austria, Prussia, Spain, Holland, and Sardinia began attacking France from all directions, besieging and capturing ports and retaking ground lost to France.  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. France was in steep debt with a … Baskets full with several heads, countless corpses, and terror, roamed the streets of France. as "The Great Terror" (French: la Grande Terreur). A Web of English History. Configuración It was ratified by public referendum, but never put into force. On 20 Prairial (8 June 1794) the Festival of the Supreme Being was celebrated across the country; this was part of the Cult of the Supreme Being, a deist national religion. In the spring of 1794, it eliminated its enemies to the left (the Hébertists) and to the right (the Indulgents, or followers of Georges Danton). Many of his contemporaries commented on Danton's financial success during the Revolution, certain acquisitions of money that he could not adequately explain. The arrest of Maximilien Robespierre, July 27, 1794. Jean-Clément Martin, La Terreur, part maudite de la Révolution, Découvertes/Gallimard, 2010, p. 14-15. The leaders felt that their ideal version of government was threatened from the inside and outside of France, and terror was the only way to preserve the dignity of the Republic created from French Revolution. Updates? The Reign Of Terror: Was It Justified? Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). #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. Favourite answer. Yahoo Search Búsqueda en la Web.  However, at this point, the war was only Prussia and Austria against France. In response to what they viewed to be the meddling of foreign powers, France declared war on 20 April 1792. They fled. 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. 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. 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. "The First Coalition 1793-1797." Although the Terror was an extreme set of laws, they were the only permanent rules that existed among the chaos. Accessed 23 October 2018. On 9 September the convention established paramilitary forces, the "revolutionary armies", to force farmers to surrender grain demanded by the government. 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