Summarize the political reforms in France and describe the Reign of Terror
Robespierre and The Reign of Terror
The Reign of Terror, also known as the Terror, was designed to fight the enemies of the revolution and to prevent counter-revolution from gaining ground. It was roused by conflict between the political bands, the Girondins and the Jacobins. The guillotine became a symbol of the series of executions that occured (both important figures and civilians). During 1794, revolutionary France was beset with real or imagined conspiracies by internal and foreign enemies. Robespierre, one of the most influential figures of the French Revolution, was the mastermind of the Reign of Terror. He was the leader of the Committee of Public Safety, the executive committee of the National Convention, and the most powerful man in France. He explained how terror would lead to the Republic of Virtue in a speech to the National Convention.
- Lily Sanchez
Reforms & Robespierre
By the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen being established, the National Assembly took the chance to make many reforms. Their reforms principally focused on the church, they took over the church lands and declared that Church officials and priests had to be elected and paid as state officials. These ideals set by the National Assembly had a purpose, which was to pay off France’s huge debt. The reforms alarmed those peasants who were devoted Catholics, meaning much opposed the assembly’s reforms.
In July 1793 Maximilien Robespierre, Jacobin leader, became leader of the Committee of Public Safety. After this for the next year Robespierre governed as a true dictator and for France all those years under his rule, it became known as the Reign of Terror. After many years of Robespierre some members of the National Convention turned on him. They demanded his arrest and execution. After Robespierre’s death it was like everything fell in to place. In this period of order France found the right general to command France’s armies, Napoleon Bonaparte.
French Reforms during the F.R. & Robespierre's Reign of Terror
During the French Revolution, the National Assembly was able to set some new standards or reforms, which they thought would better the whole situation. Amongst these reforms we have a balance of powers, a declaration which stated that all men were equal under the law; just because you were noble-born did not mean you had privileges; no emperors or dictators were able to rule; they would not return to the "Ancien Regime"; and finally, the monarchic rule would end.
Directed by the Committee of Public Safety, the Reign of Terror was a period of the French Revolution in which many people were executed due to what was thought, of the Committee, these were enemies of the government laws. Though there were many members of the committee, one of them was thought of as the head. This was Maximilien Robespierre. Robespierre led what was a great period of Revolutionary fighting , killing to get rid of enemies, raise new armies, and assure food supply for the armies and cities overall. This period were Robespierre became dictator of France was known as the Reign of Terror for the people. The beginning of the militarry successions brought with it a confusion and and doubt towards Robespierre's ways. Those who were with him were now his enemies and joined forces with his original enemies to bring him down.
In the end they were able to execute him and with his death came the end of the Reign of Terror.
Reforms & Terror
In 1789 The National Assembly adopted the statement of revolutionary ideals, called The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. This document reflected the influence of The Declaration of Independence and stated that, men are born and remain freedom and equal in rights, rights such as: liberty, equality, security, and resistance to oppression. The National Assembly’s early reforms focused more on the Church. The Assembly took over the church’s lands and said that church leaders and priests were going to be elected and paid as state officials. When the Assembly passed the new constitution, the constitution created what was called a limited constitutional monarchy, which took of most of the king’s authority and only left him with the executive power to enforce laws.
The Reign of Terror began when Maximilien Robespierre, who was a Jacobin leader, took power over France as a dictator he also became the leader of the Committee of Public Safety. The Committee of Public Safety’s chief task was to protect the revolution from enemies. Robespierre’s leadership had this often “enemies” which were caught in the morning and guillotined in the afternoon. Robespierre justified his actions by saying that this way French citizen would stay loyal to the ideals of the revolution. The Reign of Terror ended when some members of the National Convention turned on Robespierre, they wanted his arrest and execution. This happened in July 28, 1794, when Robespierre went to the guillotine.
Reign of Terror
After the death of Louis XVI in 1793, the Reign of Terror began. The first to be affected by this was Marie Antoinette who had been imprisoned with her children. The guillotine, the new instrument for democratic justice, was put to work. Public executions were thought of as educational. Women were encouraged to sit and knit during trials and executions. Across France 30,000 people were killed for very unnecessary things such as saying something critical of the revolutionary government. The leader during this time was Robespierre. He was the leader of Public Safety, the executive committee of the National Convention, and the most powerful man on France.
But after some time, people believed that the Terror must be stopped. Even his supporters, the Jacobins believed that it was time to stop the Terror. Many conventions were held in order to stop the Terror. Danton was the one leading this, but later was threatened to death and prohibited from defending himself.
When Robespierre called for a new purge in 1794, he seemed to threaten the other members of the Committee of Public Safety. The Jacobins had had enough. Cambon rose in the Convention and said "It is time to tell the whole truth. One man alone is paralyzing the will of the Convention. And that man is Robespierre." Others quickly rallied to his support. Robespierre was arrested and sent to the guillotine the next day, the last victim of the Reign of Terror.
-Part of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité: The French Revolution Exhibit
The National Assembly reshapes France politically
When the National Assembly took all power the Old Regime came to an end. They had made themselves more powerful because they took the privileges the other estates had, but who wouldn’t have done that after being treated as if they didn’t have enough power? First they adopted the Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen which granted every MEN freedom of religion, speech, and equal justice. Women, on the other hand, were not taken account of during the revolution. This was so severe that when Olympe de Gouges published a declaration of rights for women, she was taken as a traitor of revolutionary ideas and executed. After this was – unfairly – done, they moved into taking the power the Church had by confiscating their lands and declaring that Church officials were to be elected. The National Assembly also took power from the king by creating a constitutional monarchy and creating the Legislative Assembly that created laws, leaving the king with only executive power. The Legislative Assembly was subdivided between the radicals, moderates, and conservatives, the radicals wanting the revolution to create extreme change in France, the moderates wanted some change, and the conservatives stood up for a limited monarchy and just wanted a few changes in the government.
When the French went to war against Austria and Prussia, the Legislative Assembly, fearing the uncontrollable population, set aside the Constitution, over threw the king, dissolved the assembly, and created the National Convention. The National Convention had the king sent to the guillotine, when it was taken control of by a Jacobin leader, which was a political group inside the classification of radicals, Maximilien Robespierre. He was the one who produced the Reign of Terror, France entering a stage of massive internal struggle, enemies of the state being sent to the guillotine every day. The problem was that they were sent for no logical reason; you could have even been executed for polluting, which was really extreme if you ask me. This period ended when Robespierre was beheaded, which occurred when his “friends” , who just were with him so they escaped the horrible fate of being sent to the guillotine, feared him so much they had to kill him. Without noticing it, this people applied political reforms still used today.
The political reforms in France were basically followed by the Declaration of rights of man and of the citizen; this was a document that gave equality to every man. It stated that “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights” this statement included liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression. The National Assembly later took power over the church this provided more equality; they changed the way, now they made church officials to be elected and be paid as state officials. The reign of terror was called because of Robespierre and his form of government he became known as a dictator, whoever challenged the form of ruling of Robespierre was to be penalize with the death sentence, no one argued its form. The reign of terror ended in July 1794 when members of the National Assembly charged him and executed him.
"Political Reforms and the remembered Reign of Terror"
The National Assembly established a new legal structure by abolishing privileges, venality, and "feudal" obligations; formulating a Declaration of Rights and specifying basic constitutional principles that left the king as the chief executive officer but deprived him of any legislative power except a suspensive veto.Despite the Declaration of Rights, the reformed franchise still excluded the poor; but the public maintained its faith in freedom and unity.Bankruptcy was averted by the confiscation of ecclesiastical land, and the church and law courts were reconstructed to conform with a rational and uniform system of local government by elected councils. In 1791-92 the hard-won constitution collapsed. On Apr. 20, 1792, the new Legislative Assembly declared war on Austria.Born of this second revolution and briefly favored by military victory, the National Convention horrified Europe by establishing a republic. Emergency bodies such as the Committee of Public Safety and the Revolutionary Tribunal were then established.
After the death of Louis XVI in 1793, the Reign of Terror began.The Terror was designed to fight the enemies of the revolution, to prevent counter-revolution from gaining ground. Most of the people rounded up were not aristocrats, but ordinary people. A man (and his family) might go to the guillotine for saying something critical of the revolutionary government. If an informer happened to overhear, that was all the tribunal needed.Robespierre was the mastermind of the Reign of Terror. He was the leader of the Committee of Public Safety, the executive committee of the National Convention, and the most powerful man in France.
Reign of Terror and The Guillotine
There was a drastically takeover of the government to create a Republic. This was called the "Reign of Terror." It was controlled by the Committee of Public Safety - the Jacobins. Robospierre ran the country. He got an army of 800,000. It was the biggest army ever, in Europe, up to that time. Between 20,000 - 40,000 people were executed. At their trials, they could not speak in their own defense. The victims were clergy, aristocracy, and common people. Anyone who disagreed with the Jacobins was a "threat to the Republic."
In France, the guillotine became the accepted method of execution following tests on sheep and cadavers. Joseph Guillotine, a doctor, suggested its use for all executions, because it was a quick, painless death.
-Kenny R. Gomez
The French Revolution was mainly about the third estates' strive to obtain liberty and equality. Looking at how Frances social system was set up, it was only at matter of time before the exploited third estate got fed up and rebelled. To begin with the basics, Frances economic classes were made up of 3 estates. The first were the clergy, the second were the nobles, and finally the third were the peasants and those with no education. This estate also happened to the largest estate of the 3 hold the vast majority of the population. The first and second estates only happened to make up about 3% of the entire population. Where as the clergy wasn't required to pay a tax and the nobles paid little to no tax at all, the third was. Those poor, starving people who could barely get by with what they earned had to, on top of that, pay a tax so high it was an outrage. It wasn't surprising in the least when they finally decided to revolt when Louis XVI demanded higher taxes. Furthermore the revolutionary ideas of liberty and equality spread by the philosophies such as Voltaire and left over from the American Revolution excited peasants into believing that life could improve.
During the period where the third estate gained power and their leaders took roles of government officials, Maximilien Robespirre came to power. Robespierre had attempted to stabilize the country under his control. Unfortunately his ways of persuasion were pretty gruesome. Anyone who posed a threat to his government was immediately executed by his horrid contraption: the guillotine. Only those who were exceptionally loyal to him could hold any sort of power. This reign came to an end when the notorious Robespierre was executed by his own beloved guillotine.
-Genesis A. Landestoy