CLIO 7 (1) - page 8

Terror is Justice
With enemies closing in from
both neighbouring countries and
within France itself, the Jacobins and
the Committee of Public Safety be-
gan to instigate a ‘combing through’
of France, to unearth any traitors to
the Revolution or to France itself by
helping its neighbours. In the eyes of
Robespierre, they were one and the
same thing. He made many speeches
advocating and supportingThe Terror,
saying that “[France] must smother
the internal and external enemies
of the Republic”, and urged people
to “subdue by terror the enemies of
liberty”. The guillotine was decided to
be the tool with which the unearthed
traitors would be punished with. At
the beginning of September 1793,
each execution was systematically
observed and recorded by represent-
atives of the National Convention.
These were public events and many
people attended them, often bringing
their children and food to enjoy while
they watched. According to records,
there were 16,594 executions in Paris
alone between June 1793 and July
1794. However, as the Terror contin-
ued it began to spiral out of govern-
ment control, with many of the sans-
culottes holding their own executions
without the approval or knowledge of
the Committee of Public Safety. They
would march through the streets of
the towns and cities, picking anyone
and everyone who they said was an
enemy of France, a spy. The reasons
given for the executions could range
from a strange look that a man gave
to a radical, to a baker selling them
a loaf of bread that had gone off. No
one was safe from the cruel hand of
the Terror. Soon, the support given by
the peasants and other members of
the Third Estate began to dwindle and
their support turned into hate. The
military crisis that had threatened
France was over, and rather than
increasing the grip of the Terror - as
Robespierre proposed - the people
wanted theTerror to be over. Robe-
spierre and his fellow radicals were
captured and executed on the 28th of
July, 1794.
The number of people murdered
unofficially was far beyond anything
that the Committee of Public Safety
believed it to be. In fact it is estimated
that the real death toll of the Terror
was actually around 40, 000 people.
Many of these people would have
been staunch supporters of the Rev-
olution and possibly even supporters
of Maximilien himself, until his crea-
tion proved to be their downfall, and
eventually his too.
Incorruptible, Un-
changeable, Incompati-
ble, Stubborn
Maximilien Robespierre was a
visionary who wholly believed in his
heart that what he was doing was for
the good of the country that he loved
and adored dearly. His views were
radical, yes, but they helped bring
about one of the greatest political
movements not only of the 20th cen-
tury, but of Modern Human History as
a whole. He believed in the rights of
the many, not the few, and of Human
Rights being applicable to all. He
would not be bribed or changed in his
views by anything or anyone. Howev-
er, this ‘incorruptibility’ proved to be
his downfall. The world changes every
day, and opinions have to change and
modify to fit the current situation. He
was not able to change his views and
when the Terror began to spiral out of
control, Robespierre stubbornly stuck
to his belief that the Terror was doing
more good than harm. It was this
stubbornness that caused him to be
dragged out of his office in the gov-
ernment building and be killed by the
guillotine. He was not a monster, but
a visionary blind to the destruction he
had caused.
Miro da Costa Tuff 10Lb
1,2,3,4,5,6,7 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,...64
Powered by FlippingBook