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How did the domestic violence and the attacks by both Austria and Prussia lead to the shift from enlightened ideas to terror?

By ashapolsky14 Feb 28, 2014 452 Words
Domestic and foreign violence lead from enlightened ideas to terror because of the influences of Marat and Robespierre. With the help of Robespierre who demanded increased freedom of press, Marat ran a newspaper called “The Peoples Friend”, in which he expressed his great anger for those against the revolution. He believed and wrote about those who were plotting against the revolution; his solution for dealing with those people was death. On Oct 2 1789, Marat reported that during a party of his, the king trampled the revolutionary flag and urged people to take action against him. On October 5th, that is exactly what an army of women did. In addition to their already existing anger due to the shortage of bread; the women marched to Versailles and tore Marie Antoinette’s bed to shreds. This was only one of the many violent outbreaks directly caused by Marat. On another occasion, Marat inspired a group of people named the sans culottes to break into the jail and slaughter priests and nobles. Priests and nobles were the ones targeted because they were thought of being anti- revolutionaries because they were the wealthy landowners that prevented the social equality that the Revolution was striving for. On April 1792, the Assembly declared war on Austria; which also happened to be ruled by Marie Antoinette's own family. Later on, Austria’s ally Prussia would join them in their invasion of France. Tension within France increased when Marie Antoinette was suspected of revealing war plans while corresponding with her relatives in Austria. This suspicion only added to Marie and Louis’s long list pre-existing betrayals of their people which only caused more terror within France. Marat’s newspaper printed a letter from the war general of Austria/Prussia which was a declaration threatening destruction of Paris if any harm is done on the king and queen. On August 10th 1792 this backfires; 27,000 armed citizens fueled by rage headed to the king’s palace, killing his guards in a savage attack. By the end of the day, over 800 people from each side were dead. The French Republic was now born as King Louis was officially removed from power. Contrary to his earlier enlightened belief opposing the death penalty, Robespierre declared that the birth of the new republic can only start with the death of the king; so that is what he did. Robespierre’s enlightened request for freedom of press proved to be a big mistake when Marat and his paper were acted as one of the main causes for terror within France. What started out being a newspaper cleverly named “The People’s Friend”, unfortunately turned into the people’s enemy as it morphed into a guide to creating war within France.

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