CLIO 7 (1) - page 44

revolution stated that ‘We are not talking about or-
dinary crimes; we are talking about crimes commit-
ted in the effervescence that always accompanies
great revolutions’. During the Terror, 1793-94, at
least 40,000 people were killed. Between Septem-
ber and July, at least 300,000 civilians were arrest-
ed. This is equivalent to 1 in 50 French people. It is
no argument to say that these were brutal times,
and 40,000 is a hideously large number of deaths,
but would the French Revolution have succeeded
and remained a republic if this merciless era had
not taken place? The French Revolution has been
by many as good and seen by others as bad, but it is
no question that the Revolution and the crimes that
came with it were necessary to get where France is
This revolution lasted from 1789 to
1799 and overthrew the absolute monarchy govern-
ing France and replaced it with a republic but finally
ended with a dictatorship under Napoleon. With-
out the French revolution, many other countries in
Europe would not have followed suit and possibly a
lot of the liberal democracies which reignWestern
Europe today would not exist. However, this does
not mean that the French revolution was perfectly
executed (excuse the pun) as over the 10-year pe-
riod, a total of 40,000 people were killed between
both the original monarchy and the newly instated
republic, aiming to eliminate previous injustices
which Louis XVI had encouraged. This absolute
bloodlust which controlled the population of France
due to the original violent attacks with the storming
of Bastille meant that there was still injustice within
France as thousands were murdered. This demon-
strates how in certain violent cases, breaking of the
law can have catastrophic consequences as well as
revolutionary ones.
It is evident that crimes have right-
fully been committed as the purpose is for a just
‘Fighting at the Hotel de Ville’ by JeanVictor
Schnetz (1833)
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