Assess the Contribution of Terror to the French Revolution.

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The Reign of Terror throughout France had a significant contribution to the French Revolution. Between the years of 1792 – 1795, France experienced highly dramatic political, social and economic changes.

The French Revolution began when the most privileged class of France, the aristocracy, tried to resist reforms attempted by the government. The Terror was instigated and carried out by a coalition of Jacobins and sans-culottes. Among the most important leaders of those who encouraged and administered the Terror were Maximilien Robespierre, Louis Saint-Just, Jean Paul Marat, Jaques-Rene Hebert, Jaques Roux and Georges Danton. Robespierre was among the radical Jacobins and he opposed the idea of a war against the kings of Europe, arguing, "War would not create revolutions abroad but would lead to a military dictatorship in France." The Jacobins lost this argument resulting in the first stage of the radical revolution as France declared war on Austria, on 20 April 1792. Despite Robespierre's objections to the war, it was the Jacobins who gained from it politically. France was soon in a state of crisis with beliefs that the Queen, Marie Antoinette, was plotting with Austria to restore the absolute monarchy. By August 1792 the constitutional monarchy was replaced with a republic. Determination grew among the poorer citizens to be in defence and to gain a fairer share of the Revolution's benefits. The election of a new assembly, the National Convention, made many changes to the newly proclaimed Republic. Robespierre proposed that the King be sentenced to death, being a traitor of France. King Louis XVI was convicted by the Convention, and although his party of Girondins tried to avoid his execution, they were outvoted and Louis was executed on 21 January 1793. Following Louis XVI's execution early in 1793, a struggle developed between the more moderate Girondins and the radical Jacobins. In the contest between the two factions, the Jacobins outmanoeuvred the...
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