Robespierre: Hero or Villain?

Topics: French Revolution, Reign of Terror, Jacobin Club Pages: 4 (756 words) Published: November 5, 2014
Maximilien Robespierre has always been known to be controversial and misunderstood. He was the face of the French Revolution. In accordance with the Jacobins, they controlled the time known as the Reign of Terror, due to their influence in the accumulation of murders of those opposed to the revolution. Reign of Terror was a symbolic time period within the French Revolution that involved corruption of power and influence and mass executions. With Robespierre at the forefront, he became one of the most important men in the Revolution. As soon as Maximilien Robespierre decided to react to enemies of the revolutions, mass execution being his choice of force; his implementation of the Reign of Terror was a villainous act striking those who spoke out as traitors with the belief that those people were sinners and were to be killed for the betterment of humanity.

From the time Robespierre became active and prominent in the National Assembly and the Parisian Jacobin Club, he was never considered much more than an average man; he was not regarded as one to sport the face of the Reign of Terror. With a pale complexion, cat-like facial features and glasses that seemingly never stayed on his nose, he embodied that of a man in the Old Regime (Palmer 6-7). He was described as a talker, not a doer. His rhetoric was excellent; however, is delivery was confusing. He was shy and his voice did carry well. His attributes as a shy and nervous man did not suggest he would take over and lead the Committee of Public safety, serving alongside the ruthless Jacobins.

On the contrary, Robespierre took a firm stand in his beliefs. Individual liberties were very important. He had good morals; he believed that money and birth should dictate how one is valued in society. He defended democracy. He strived to defend the Revolution and wanted "liberation of all of the oppressed-actors, Jewish, Negro slaves in the colonies" (Soboul 55). He continues to go on by stating,

The Republic must...

Citations: Jordan, David P. _The Journal of Modern History_. 2nd ed. Vol. 49. U of Chicago, 0. 282-
291. Print.
McLetchie, Scott. "Maximilien Robespierre, Master of the Terror." _Maximilien_
_Robespierre, Master of the Terror_. Loyola University of New Orleans, 1 Jan. 1984. Web. 24 Sept. 2014.
Mirabeau, quoted in Jean Matrat, _Robespierre, or the Tyranny of the_
_Majority,_ trans. Alan Kendall (New York: Charles Scribner 's Sons, 1971), p. 51.
R. R. Palmer, _Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of Terror in the French_
_Revolution_ (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941), pp. 3-21.
Soboul, A. _Robespierre and the Popular Movement of 1793-1794_. Vol. 5. Oxford
University Press, 0. 54-70. Print.
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