Robespierre's Rebellion

984 Words4 Pages
Often revolutions in history portray ruling powers being forcibly removed by a group intent on a new power structure setting up an "improved" system. France's Reign of Terror and China's Cultural Revolution were harsh responses to similar conditions resulting in political, economic, and social changes in those societies. Both revolutions were led by powerful, ruthless leaders and shared important similarities as well as distinct differences in their leadership style. During the French Revolution, Maximillian Robespierre was a leader during the period known as the Reign of Terror. Robespierre initially preached the ideals of equality, liberty, and fraternity he ultimately utilized violence in an effort to control the French citizens. Like Robespierre,…show more content…
This twelve person committee, with Robespierre a prominent member, shelved the new constitution, passed laws suspending newly acquired rights, issued a mass tax to raise money for the war effort, and took control of trials and executions. Robespierre concluded that in order to defend the Republic the use of terror was justified. He exclaimed "we must smother the internal and external enemies of the Republic or perish with it…the first maxim of your policy ought to be to lead…the people's enemies by terror." By the end of the Reign of Terror, Robespierre was responsible for the execution of upwards of 40,000 people, many by the guillotine, often on flimsy charges. It is believed that 85% of the victims were members of the poor or middle class- the very people the Revolution had been sought to…show more content…
The Cultural Revolution concluded in 1976 with Mao's death. Likewise, in 1974 the Reign of Terror ended with Robespierre's execution at the guillotine. Both Robespierre and Mao pledged to, as leaders in their government, to defend the underprivileged. But the type of government they sought to promote vastly differed- one a Republic and the other Communist. Nevertheless, both leaders of the Revolution evolved into harsh dictators and were instrumental in the mass killings of the people they originally sought to protect. They used violent methods to eliminate opponents as a means of maintaining governing control. Goals of social or class equality were forgotten and ultimately triggered the collapse of these
Open Document