Terror And The French Revolution Essay

1211 words - 5 pages

Essay: Terror and the French Revolution
“Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death, - the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
On the evening of the 14th of July 1989 1.5 million people from 17 different countries gathered along the Champs-Elysees to celebrate Bastilles Day , the anniversary of the French Revolution which had occurred two hundred years before. But what were the French celebrating, the capture of Bastille and the deaths of ninety eight people through a violent uprising ? It has been long debated the significance of the capture of Bastille and will continue to do so but the shockwaves it left in the France at that time can be still felt today. One thing is certain and without debate, the capture of Bastilles marked the downfall of King Louis XVI and marked the beginning of a new era in France’s history. One not sprinkled in glorious battles and momentous triumphs as will be seen in the Napoleonic era but one filled with senseless executions by the blade of the Guillotine and a new and brief period of ‘terror’ with the influence of Maximilien Robespierre.
To denounce Maximilien Robespierre as the perpetrator of terror and as the ‘villain’ in the aftermath of the revolution would be unwise. Robespierre merely represented the thoughts and feelings of a majority(or minority, depending on which perspective one takes) of the French public. His actions reflected the judgement of the people and whilst his actions led to the death of roughly sixteen thousand people, it must be noted (to remain unbiased) that at that time France was in turmoil, the atmosphere in Paris reflected the atmosphere in Russia during the late 1930’s .The purges were committed against the ‘internal enemies of France’ as Hugo categorises it. Forest supports Hugo by noting similar purges were also witnessed in Paris and the provinces , these so-called atrocities were committed and perpetrated by a select group of individuals who in one way or another, sought to gain power by using terror. Terror which was created and fuelled by people’s confusion and lack of order amidst the deposition of the government.
“Man is a cruel animal. His cruelty must be organized.”Dr. Joseph- Ignace Guillotin
Terror took place in many forms as both Cobbs and Jones note there were street looting, violence, theft, religious hate crimes, abuse (in some cases physical) and most defining the Guillotine. Namesake of Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, the guillotine will forever remain as the sanguinary symbol of terror in the French revolution. Used to execute as many as seventeen thousand ‘anti- French’ citizens it remains today as a symbol of the atrocities perpetrated by government and people alike. Forest denounces these atrocities as ‘madness’ , in spite of its efficiency, it was a truly horrifying and sickening sight, the Journal d'Autre Monde would later remark in 1794 that the guillotine as “dreadful...

Find Another Essay On Terror and the French Revolution

Maxilmilien Robespierre and his influence on the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution

1598 words - 6 pages Maxilmilien RobespierreLooking back at the history of the French Revolution, Maxilmilien Robespierre was definitely one of the most controversial figures. From one aspect, he was very virtuous and devoted to fighting for his people. However, judging from another point of view, Robespierre was a ruthless tyrant who took away the lives of thousands and thousands of people. So is Robespierre really a true dedicator to the Revolution or is he a

Reign of Terror was during the French Revolution

1810 words - 7 pages royalists. Their initial economic reforms were beneficial in restoring the country after its being ravished by the revolution, but the Directory was wrought with internal and external political strife. Furthermore, international hatred for the Directory grew intense, which forced France to place Napoleon Bonaparte in power.Therefore, the Reign of Terror left a scar on French politics that would lead to the Napoleonic years. The original revolutionary

Exploring Reasons the French Revolution Turned to Terror

712 words - 3 pages There are three important and distinct reasons for the French Revolution changing from being about the people to a revolution run by fear and terror. The first was the lack of tradition of a republican rule within France. The revolutionaries were simply not experienced enough in running and managing political parties. The second reason was the constantly growing power of the counter revolutionaries. The third reason was due to the ongoing wars

FRENCH REVOLUTION ASSASS THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE TERROR AS A MEANS OF DEALING WITH THE PROBLEMS OF 1793 - 1794

952 words - 4 pages French Revolution, 1969, University of London press, London, EnglandKoeller, David. The French Revolution, 1998, North Park University press, Chicago, Illinois, United States of AmericaSagan, Eli. Citizens and Cannibals: The French Revolution, the Struggle for modernity and the Origins of ideological terror, 2001, Rowman and Littlefield publishers, Lanham, Maryland, United States of AmericaWright, D G. Revolution and Terror in France 1789 - 1795, 1990, Addison - Wesley publishing, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

The French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution

1365 words - 5 pages The period of 18th and 19th century is marked by the greatest transformations, reformations, revolutions and many other critical events that ever took place in human history. The credit is given to all these revolutions for enlightenment of mankind. The two most important revolutions were the French revolution and the industrial revolution. One can feel that both of these revolutions mutually reinforced each other and later became the back bone

Napoleon and The French Revolution

886 words - 4 pages The nation of France underwent a crucial revolution from 1789 to 1799. Amidst this period, Republicans took control of the French government from the King and later on The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was instituted to provide protection for its people. At the helm of these revolutions, Napoleon Bonaparte, a young general had began to win many foreign battles and was steadily rising in the army's ranks. It was through

The French Revolution and Nationalism

934 words - 4 pages After the conflicts against Napoleon in 1815, the outlook of nationalism permeated throughout entire Germany by middle-class liberals and was influenced by the French revolution. Soon Bismarck unified the German states under Prussia. Nationalism encouraged the German people to stand against conservatives and when Germany was finally unified as the German Empire it was very much an authoritarian and a combatant state as well. This is a

The French Revolution and black revolution

1477 words - 6 pages The French Revolution The statement citing the essential cause of the French Revolution as the "collision between a powerful, rising bourgeoisie and an entrenched aristocracy defending its privileges" has great pertinence in summarizing the conflict of 1789. The causes of the French Revolution, being provoked by this collision of powers, were the financial debt of the government and the long-standing political differences in the government. Over

The French Regime of Terror

3895 words - 16 pages French Revolution, Princeton University Press, 1969 .2) Robespierre, Maximilien, On the Moral and Political Principles of Domestic Policy .3) Baczko, Bronislaw, Iesirea din Teroare . Termidor si Revolutia, Humanitas, 1993 .4) Linton, Marisa, The Terror in the French Revolution, Kingston University .5) Furet, François, The French Revolution . 1770 - 1814, Blackwell Publishers, 1996 .6) McPhee, Peter, The French Revolution . 1789-1799, Oxford

Poetry and Song in the French Revolution

2564 words - 10 pages to abandon centuries of identity forming ideological construct such as the catholic. Lebrun’s attempts to create a divide between the old and the new, much like the schism that Robespierre was attempting to create, forces France to abandon their culture. It is here that we witness the inherent flaw of the French Revolution. During the reign of Terror, there exists a true desire to progress, to embrace the ideals of the enlightenment that meant so

American Revolutionary war and the French Revolution:

604 words - 2 pages The American Revolution and the French Revolution both took place in the late seventeen hundreds and had many similarities and differences. My research has led me to believe that similar things triggered them. ÒThe United States sought to separate from the tyrannical hand of British rule, while France wanted to overthrow a government where the rich plundered the poor, and the privileged church grew wealthier at the expense of spiritual

Similar Essays

The French Revolution And The Terror

1783 words - 7 pages laid out in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen how could it end up killing so many innocent citizens, without due process, for crimes that are essentially not crimes as laid out in the afore mentioned document. There are several different opinions among scholars as to why exactly the French Revolution suddenly became an ideological monstrosity that astounds scholars even today. Some intellectuals believe that the revolution

The Reign Of Terror And The French Revolution

4565 words - 18 pages 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

Use Of Terror In The French Revolution

1092 words - 4 pages Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety used excessive terror to enforce new revolutionary changes during the French Revolution. After the old French government was overthrown, Maximillian Robespierre took control of France in 1793. Robespierre wanted to change the social and economic structure of France for the better, spreading equality throughout France. Robespierre believed that he needed to lead The Committee of Public Safety to

French Revolution Reign Of Terror Essay

2548 words - 10 pages . -R. R. Palmer, Twelve Who RuledThe French Revolution is a term used to describe the political and social upheaval that occurred in France between 1789 and 1799. These political and social changes were accompanied by periods of violence and many turbulent overthrows of ruling bodies. The most notable periods of violence and oppression arises during the period known as the Reign of Terror.The Reign of Terror, or simply the Terror, began on the 5th