Facilitated by enlightened thinking and the terrible violence in the late 18th century, the French Revolution of 1789 brought major political and social change to France. It paved the way for the beginning of the end of monarchies and France found itself trying on different governments during and after the revolution. The uprising of the common people to overthrow a broken political system demonstrates the spread of democratic principles in Europe and the New World.
We can and WILL use force against citizens if they refuse to follow revolutionary law!
Reign of Terror 1793-94
The Reign of Terror began when French lawyer and politician Maximilien Robespierre took control of the Committee of Public Safety and ruled as a dictator.
Girondin members are rounded up and executed
Death of a Queen
I would never harm my own child...
Terror is nothing other than justice: prompt, severe, inflexible.
Put on trial for a wide range of charges, many of them exaggerated, the Queen was found guilty and executed.
Robespierre was a member of the Jacobins - a radical political group. The rival group, the Girondins, became targets during the "Terror".
Robespierre justifies his authority
Under a revolutionary regime, it is the state which has to defend itself against all the factions which assail it.
Robespierre claims that since his "revolutionary regime" is at war, it must "operate in an extraordinary manner".
Festival of the Supreme Being
New legislation makes trials for "counterrevolutionaries" even faster!
Robespierre created his own revolutionary religion based on Greek and Roman models. To "ring in" this new belief system he organized a massive festival, involving a man-made mountain, which he presided over.
Over 65% of all "counterrevolutionaries" were executed after Robespierre put this new law into effect.
The Law of the 22nd Prairial
The Terror Ends
Charged with "crimes against the Republic". Robespierre is guillotined. The Reign of Terror ends after over 40,000 French citizens are killed.