Essay About The Reign Of Terror

The Reign Of Terror And The French Revolution

History is said to be written by the winners, but is it possible to rewrite history? In a way, the French, like many who have preceded them, and many who will proceed them have done the impossible, rewriting history. From trivial folklore, such as George Washington chopping down a cherry tree, to the incredibly wrong, the African slave trade; people's views of history can be shaped and molded. The French have done a superb job of instilling all of us with the concept that their Revolution was a fight for liberty, justice and the good of all Frenchmen everywhere. Their glorification of the Bastille with it's depictions in painting and sculpture and how the Revolution was the beginning of a new age pales to some of the events during this period. In fact, the storming of the Bastille was merely a hole in the dike, and more would follow. The National Guard, the Paris Commune, the September Massacre, are all words that the French would prefer us not to hear. These events were a subtle dénouement to an climax that was filled with both blood and pain. 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 entertained eye. No matter what the French may claim, if one chooses to open his eyes and read about this tragedy, they are most certainly welcome.

The revolution begins quietly in the fiscal crisis of Louis XVI's reign. The government was running deeply into bankruptcy, and at the urging of his financial advisors, he called the Estates General. The governing body had not been called for almost two centuries, and now it's workings seemed outdated. A small number of people said that the Third Estate, that which was drawn from the towns, should have power to equal the other Estates. Clubs of the bourgeoisie, the middle class, were formed, proclaiming, 'Salus populi lex est.' It was a simple cry meaning 'the welfare of the people is law.' To these people, the Estates General was like a pair of shoes that no longer fit. Reformed seemed iminent, the phrase, 'The Third Estate is not an order, it is the nation itself' began to circulate.1

With much fanfare and circumstance, the three estates were called together. However, on trying to meet, the Third Estate found the doors to their meeting place locked. Moving to the tennis court, with much deliberation, an oath was sworn between the delegates and some clergy, proclaiming themselves as the National Assembly. They swore to remain indivisible until a constitution had been formed. As they met at the church of St. Louis, the King was delayed in his attempt to end this display of independence. Finally, he informed them, that he would not allow any reforms to be made, unless he approved of them. Unfortunately,...

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The reign of terror was a period of violence in which occurred from 1793- 1794 after the strong onset of the French Revolution. It was a time of fierceness and anger, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people living in France at that period of time. The terror followed the trial and execution of King Louis XVI in 1793 and was incited by the conflict between the Girondins and Jacobins. Soon after, King Louis’ wife, Marie Antoinette, was executed in the guillotine- the new form of constitutionalist justice. Many of the people who were executed during this period of time were not aristocrats, but ordinary people who may have only stated a critical thought or judgment going against the revolutionary government. Many believe that once…show more content…

A number of people living in France, including nobles, priests and the bourgeoisie fled the country during the French Revolution, abandoning the struggle the country was going through. Emigrating, they formed armed groups and moved to neighboring countries, acquiring the name of émigrés. In 1791, legislation against the émigrés was passed by the King stating that anyone caught emigrating would be punished with a death sentence, namely the guillotine. Due to the politics of the time period, France was inevitably drawn to War with Austria and its allies, including Prussia, declaring War against them on 20 April 1792. Robespierre opposed the occurrence of War due to the fact that it would strengthen the monarchy and the military as well as attract the anger of ordinary people in Austria and its neighbouring countries. The Jacobins increased the size of the army, determined to have more soldiers who demonstrated their patriotism and trained ability effectively. The Republican Army of France dominated the battles and were able to overcome the Austrians, Prussians, British and Spanish- the countries against the revolutionary government, and the strong violence was a large part in why the Reign of Terror began.

Factional disputes in the Convention caused for the replacement of the Girondins

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