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Lecture 13: The French Revolution, The Radical Stage, 1792-1794
On AUGUST 10, 1792, The enraged Parisian men and women attacked the king¡¯s palace and killed several hundred Swiss Guards. The result of this journee was the radicalization of the Revolution. Louis and Marie Antoinette were forced to flee the Tuileries and took refuge in the Legislative Assembly itself. The royal family was placed under house arrest, and lived rather comfortably, but the king could not perform any of his political functions. Although the revolutionaries had drafted a constitution, now they had no monarch. By September, Paris was in turmoil. Fearing counter-revolution, the sans-culottes destroyed prisons because they believed they were secretly sheltering conspirators. More than one thousand people were killed. Street fights broke out everywhere and barricades were set up in various quarters of the city. All this was done in order to consolidate the Revolution ¨C to keep it moving forward. On September 21st and 22nd , 1792, the monarchy was officially abolished and a republic established. The 22nd of September, 1792 was now known as day one of the year one. In December, Louis XVI was placed on TRIAL for violating the liberty of his subjects and on January 21, 1793, Louis was executed like an ordinary criminal. From this time on, the Revolution had no recourse but to move forward. After the execution of Louis, the National Assembly, now known as the National Convention, faced enormous problems. The value of paper currency (assignats) used to finance the Revolution had fallen by 50%. There was price inflation, continued food shortages, and various peasant rebellions against the Revolution occurred across the countryside. France was close to civil war. Meanwhile, the revolutionaries found themselves not only at war with Austria and Prussia, but with Holland, Spain and Great Britain. As the Revolution stumbled under the weight of foreign war and civil war, the revolutionary leadership grew more radical. Up to June 1793, moderate reformers had dominated the National Convention. These were the Girondins, men who favored a decentralized government in which the various provinces or departments would determine their own affairs. The Girondins also opposed government interference in the...