Justification for the Use of Terror

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Samantha Morris
September 9th, 2009

Maximilien Robespierre was the leader of The Committee of Public Safety during the radical phase of the french revolution. Robespierre played a big role in the Reign of Terror. Once a liberal thinker, he lost his belief in people. This caused him to become very radical in his actions (Justification for the Use of Terror (p. 1)). Hundreds of people were condemned to prison while others were executed, because they didn't agree with his beliefs. Were Maximilien Robespierre's efforts in the Reign of Terror justified, or were they entirely terroristic?

In his speech Robespierre talks about moving the revolution forward (Justification for the Use of Terror (p. 1-2)). Maximilien believed he was helping the country obtain greatness, but in essence he was victimizing it's citizens. If a citizen spoke out against the french government, Robespierre, believed they were conspiring against the country. Basically saying, If your not for me; your against me. He believed in ruling with an iron fist, and that scaring the citizens into believing what he believed would then push the country into being a stronger, more unified country. He wanted what was best for the people, but ultimately he felt what was best is to rule over the people. He wanted control, and felt that if he had control it would move the country forward.

Maximilien Robespierre talks about natural virtue in his speech. He says a nation becomes corrupted when the people lose their character, liberty, and virtue (Justification for the Use of Terror (p. 2)). The irony in this is he himself lost his character, and the basic principles of his philosophy. He believed in the equality of the people, but his beliefs soon turned around. He felt by using force and terror people would in turn become more law abiding patriots of the country (Justification for the Use of Terror (p. 3)). In actuality, Robespierre was terrorizing the people. They were no longer equal, and they lived...
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