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. They recall that only the Law of 22 prairial was abolished in the days following 9 Thermidor, and that the revolutionary court and the law of suspects were not abolished for many months, while executions continued. 27 August 1791. There is disagreement among historians over when exactly "the Terror" began. 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). Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. "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.". It ended on July 27, 1794 when Robespierre was removed from power and executed. The government's violence during the Terror may have been an effort to prevent the 'sans-culottes' from taking violence into their hands. Anti-clerical sentiments increased during 1793 and a campaign of dechristianization occurred. Many of his contemporaries commented on Danton's financial success during the Revolution, certain acquisitions of money that he could not adequately explain. These criticisms were often used by revolutionary leaders as justification for their dechristianisation reforms. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language 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 … As many as 23,000 more were killed without trial or died in prison. 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. 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. Baskets full with several heads, countless corpses, and terror, roamed the streets of France. Government by terror was imposed in response to two perceived dangers: public panic and popular violence provoked by food shortages and rising prices; and the threat posed by traitors at a time when both war and civil war confronted the nation. 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. Robespierre believed that the virtue needed for any democratic government was extremely lacking in the French people. 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. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. 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 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. The Reign Of Terror: Was It Justified? "The Declaration of Pillnitz (1791)." The Committee's powers were gradually eroded. [citation needed] 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."[22]. 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. For other uses, see, "The Terror" redirects here. Emmet Kennedy. The ones who don’t offer will be sent to death and that would stop people from following them in their footsteps. A Web of English History. [14], 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. 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. [4], Violent period during the French Revolution, This article is about the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution. After the beginning of the French Revolution, the surrounding monarchies did not show great hostility towards the rebellion. They fled. The device takes its name from Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, a French physician on whose suggestion it was introduced. The Reign of Terror was a continuation of the revolution that began in 1789. The Reign of Terror (June 1793 – July 1794) was a period in the French Revolution characterized by brutal repression. [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. 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…. Moreover, the sans-culottes, the urban workers of France, agitated leaders to inflict punishments on those who opposed the interests of the poor. This created a mass overflow in the prison systems. The “Great Terror” that followed, in which about 1,400 persons were executed, contributed to the fall of Robespierre on July 27 (9 Thermidor). [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. [13], 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. 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. 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. Favourite answer. "Maximilien Robespierre, Master of the Terror." The arrest of Maximilien Robespierre, July 27, 1794. [37] 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. 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. "Voltaire, Selections from the Philosophical Dictionary." Updates? On 27 July 1793 Robespierre became part of the Committee of Public Safety. 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. Internet History Sourcebooks. Although the Terror was an extreme set of laws, they were the only permanent rules that existed among the chaos. Accessed 26 October 2018. The National Convention was bitterly split between the Montagnards and the Girondins. Yahoo Search Búsqueda en la Web. These criticisms were often used by revolutionary leaders as justification for their dechristianisation reforms. 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. It was ratified by public referendum, but never put into force. 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. "Robespierre and the French Revolution,", This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 09:28. 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. 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). Later laws suspended the rights of suspects to both legal assistance and public trials and mandated execution of all those who were found guilty. "The First Coalition 1793-1797." The Reign of Terror. Accessed 23 October 2018. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Georges Danton, the leader of the August 1792 uprising against the king, was removed from the Committee of Public Safety on 10 July 1793. Madison – Plato – Robespierre all understood that the Despotism is the greatest threat from any government. 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. 2014. [11] Others suggest there were additional causes, including ideological[12] and emotional. By 1789 the French monarchy was nearly powerless and, for all intensive purposes, the National Assembly was the current government of France. 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. 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. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Reign-of-Terror, UNRV History - Roman Empire - Reign of Terror. "[7] This quote has frequently been interpreted as the beginning of a supposed "system of Terror", an interpretation no longer retained by historians today. Some consider it to have begun only in 1793, giving the date as either 5 September,[1] June[2] or March, when the Revolutionary Tribunal came into existence. The Committee of Public Safety took actions against both. Many long-held rights and powers were stripped from the church and given to the state. Jeremy D. Popkin, A Short History of the French Revolution, (London: Routledge, 2016), 64. Prior to the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (1793–94), France was governed by the National Convention. In September 1793 price controls were extended to other staple consumer goods, and the armées révolutionnaireswere cre… 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. [3] Today there is consensus amongst historians that the exceptional revolutionary measures continued after the death of Robespierre. The last prisoners awaiting execution during the Reign of Terror in 1794, undated engraving. On 29 September, the Convention extended price fixing from grain and bread to other essential goods, and also fixed wages. The fear of the guillotine and the mob justice led to self exile of several nobles 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. On 16 Pluviôse (4 February 1794), the National Convention decreed the abolition of slavery in all of France and in French colonies. 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). "Terror, Vengeance, and Martyrdom in the French Revolution: THE CASE OF THE SHADES - Oxford Scholarship", 2014, accessed 1 May 2018. "[21], Though some members of the Enlightenment greatly influenced revolutionary leaders, cautions from other Enlightenment thinkers were blatantly ignored. 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. Voltaire's warnings were often overlooked, though some of his ideas were used for justification of the Revolution and the start of the Terror. People suspected of anti- revolutionary activities were sent to the guillotine in where thousands were killed. (1987), Shulim, Joseph I. [4] By then, 16,594 official death sentences had been dispensed throughout France since June 1793, of which 2,639 were in Paris alone;[2][5] and an additional 10,000 died in prison, without trial, or under both of these circumstances. [8] 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.[5]. Yahoo Search Búsqueda en la Web. 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. Accessed 23 October 2018. Voltaire. [23] Though mostly ignored, Louis XVI was later able to find support in Leopold II of Austria (brother of Marie Antoinette) and Frederick William II of Prussia. 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 'sans-culottes' saw popular violence as a political right they held. "The federalist revolt, the Vendée, and the start of the Terror (summer–fall 1793)." 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). as "The Great Terror" (French: la Grande Terreur). 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. 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 of the early battles were definitive losses for the French. During the Terror, deputies on mission began attacking the symbols of Catholicism: smashing images, vandalizing buildings, and burning vestments. An execution by guillotine during the Reign of Terror, depicted in, France: The French Revolution and Napoleon, 1789–1815. "War and Terror in French Revolutionary Discourse (1792-1794).". Religious elements that long stood as symbols of stability for the French people, were replaced by views on reason and scientific thought. 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. Federalist revolt, the Convention extended price fixing reign of terror significance grain and bread in effort. 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