Robespierre's Despotic Actions During The Terror

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Comte de Mirabeau claimed that “In times of anarchy one may seem a despot in order to be a saviour.” The National Assembly created the Committee of Public Safety, of which Robespierre was the most notable. The Committee’s abuse of power led to the Terror, which occurred from 1793-1794 and clearly demonstrates a period of anarchy, in which measures were taken to stabilise France. Robespierre’s despotic actions during the Terror agree with Mirabeau’s viewpoint. Robespierre’s despotic actions include; his exploitation of fear, his de-Christianisation of France and his organised execution of ‘enemies of the revolution.’ Robespierre believed himself to be a saviour of France and intended to provide stability. Nevertheless, his subsequent actions proved to be counterproductive to the revolution and detrimental to the French people. The French Revolution was based upon fear and uncertainty which was exploited by Robespierre illustrating his dictatorial behaviour. Robespierre actively encouraged the riots and violence that plagued France during the Terror because he believed that fear and terror was necessary for the revolution to succeed, claiming that “terror is nothing else than swift, severe, indomitable justice” (Robespierre, 1794). Robespierre compromised many of his ideals at the height of the French Revolution such as his stance on the death penalty. According to Linton (2006) Robespierre compromised his principles because of the anarchy and became increasingly dictatorial

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