Robespierre's Ideals Of The Terror

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Reports From Nantes, Law of the Maximum, and Robespierre’s Speech are three documents that reflect the motivations and ideals of the Terror during the French revolution. The radical and frightening actions by the Committee of Public Safety were motivated by fear of the activity by the counterrevolutionaries. This fear was seen during the Great Fear, and established in “La Marseillaise” where the “savage soldiers … come right into our arms to cut the throats of your sons”. Maximilien Robespierre dominated the Committee, and he believed that by losing their rights in the name of their rights being defended, in the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen”; the only way to defend liberty is to suspend it. Therefore, the Terror represents…show more content…
Robespierre said that “it is time for us to become aware ourselves both of the obstacles which still keep us from reaching that goal and of the means which we must adopt to achieve it” (6). The “obstacles” are those who do not fit in this new kind of society, such as counterrevolutionaries; and to reach the goal of a new society, education, deportation, or death are the means to achieve the goal. Killing those unfit was so prevalent that the most executions during the Terror was in the summer of 1794, when France was advancing on all fronts and the fear of counterrevolutionaries had drastically dropped. Robespierre defends himself by stating that all he wants it to do is “fulfill the wishes of nature, accomplish the destiny of humanity, [and] keep the promises of philosophy” (6) while also saying that “the strength of popular government in revolution is both virtue and terror; terror without virtue is disastrous, virtue without terror is powerless. Terror is nothing but prompt, severe, and inflexible justice” (6). To create his perfect society, measures must be taken beyond the extreme that France is willing to go. Although this document was meant to “define the aims of the Revolution,” it shows the horrors of the Revolution. Robespierre, a man that believed that“the despot [can] govern his brutalized subjects through terror” (6), was put to death in July of 1794, ironically by the guillotine. The Terror was an attempt to remake society,
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