Maximilien De Robespierre was a very complex revolutionary political leader who greatly influenced the French Revolution. Although he was a left-wing bourgeoisie inspired by Enlightenment principles and philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu, many considered his actions a “Reign of Terror”. I feel that by definition he was more of a hero than tyrant. No matter what people thought of him they cannot deny the results or influence Maximilien De Robespierre had on France and the French Revolution.
Maximilien De Robespierre was known as “The Incorruptible” to his allies and the “Dictateur Sanguinaire” (blood thirsty dictator) to his foes. Robespierre was an inspirational speaker and managed to accomplish quite a lot in his political career. Robespierre a highly educated lawyer/politician had dedicated his career and life to try and make society more equal. His career started with being elected as a judge by the bishop but he turned it down to be the Deputy of Estates General, and then in May 1789 he served in the National Assembly. Robespierre gained recognition through confronting the establishment of martial law in October, 1789. He argued for universal suffrage, Equality; which included the banishment of slavery and a change of establishment to a republic one. In 1790 the people elected Robespierre to be the president of the very powerful revolutionary Jacobin Political Party. This meant he could now push his enlightenment Principles in a real position of decision making. He was in favour of universal suffrage, limiting terms of politicians and opposed the death penalty. Robespierre expressed his distrust in France going to war with Austria and feared a military coup d’état lead by the Marquis de Lafayette a foe of Robespierre, thinking these events would later result in a military dictatorship. With all the chaos the monarchy finally failed and Robespierre was then elected to the position of first deputy for Paris to the National Convention; who terminated the absolute rule of monarchy and made France a republic. When king Louis and his wife tried to flee and abandon the new constitutional monarchy, they were captured at the border and Robespierre pushed for the execution of king Louis XVI in January 1793 claiming that “Yes, the death penalty is a general crime, and for this one reason: that according to the indestructible laws of nature, it can only be justified only in cases where it is necessary for the security of the person in the state” he felt that the kings death was necessary for the country to live and that the king was a criminal against humanity and traitor to the French nation. The king was then executed and with hesitation his wife also a year later. Robespierre was now the leader of the revolutionary government of the Jacobins. Now He felt he was faced with more threats against the security of the state and that something must be done or else everything the revolution worked for would be lost. Robespierre decided to create a forceful rule to fight the war and protect the security of the state. When all is resolved and peace has returned he said he’d re-establish a constitutional regime in France. Thirty-five to forty thousand non-supporters of the revolution were killed in the protection of liberty. Large groups of people became uncomfortable with his rule and felt this was a “reign of terror”, people felt that it should be done democratically and without brutal force, that liberty was lost in his cruel actions. December 25, 1793 Robespierre justified his actions in a letter to the National Convention stating that revolution is liberty at war against its foes and that revolutionary government only owes full protection of the state to the good citizens and only death to the enemies of liberty. After all Robespierre did for liberty in France, people were now too overcome with fear and uncertainty and Robespierre rapidly became unpopular. A French military group conspired against...
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