Reign of Terror Research Paper

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Reign of Terror

Criminal Justice

Historians have marked the French Revolution with several interesting and unusual events. A specific time period during the French Revolutio is called as "The Reign of Terror." This began on September 5, 1793 and ended on July 27, 1794. This can be best explained in these words: Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 signaled the beginning of the French Revolution. Within three years, the king was executed, and the following year a revolutionary tribunal was established to judge "enemies of the people" (Henty 02). During the French Revolution, the Convention didn't establish a democracy; instead they established a war dictatorship. The government's radical takeover was to create a Republic and this was then called as "Reign of Terror." The Committee of General Security, the Committee of Public Safety and several other agencies controlled it. One of those agencies was the Revolutionary Tribunal. The Reign of Terror represents efforts of a few men, who wanted to govern the country. They wanted to wage the crises of the war. The new government was dominated by Maximilien Robespierre and Georges Danton. An army of 800,000 in hand of Robespierre and he tried to gain over Georges. The intentions of Robespierre can be as described: Robespierre was the mastermind of the Reign of Terror. He was the most powerful man in France and he explained terror as justice, prompt, severe, inflexible (Andress 2006).

Causes of the Reign of Terror

Studies of the French Revolution tell that with the execution of the King, the monarchy rule finally ended up. The France was then established as a Republic. The authorities of the Church were terminated and it no longer had any association with the politics. The new republic state was simply based on some ungodly principles, which were later considered as the reign of terror. Guillotine, which was the accepted method of execution at that time, was used for the King and Marie Antoinette. Reign of Terror began after the death of Louis XVI that happened in the year 1793. Marie Antoinette was the first victim. Along with her children, she was imprisoned. Under some suspicious circumstances, the first son of Marie disappeared after he was taken away from her. He was called as the "lost dolphin." To fight with the enemies of the French Revolution, the terror was designed. Most of the ordinary people were rounded up. During this era of terror, the Watch Committees were encouraged for arresting any suspected person around the nation. If any person or his family members says anything critical regarding the revolution, they had to go to the guillotine. Some of the worst things happened during the reign of terror include the suspension of the civil liberties and also the promises of Declaration of the Rights of Man were forgotten. Maximilien Robespierre defined softness to traitors as something that can destroy the entire state. He was the new leader of the Jacobins. Under his leadership, the establishment of the Committee for Public Safety took place. The people of France had great hopes from this Committee because it was formed after overthrowing of the regime of the Girondin. This regime was unsuccessful in controlling the affairs of the state. The Communist laws were enforced in the country. Robespierre founded a supreme being and the new religion of France centered it. The purpose of doing so was to give a spirituality taste to the public. It was an atheistic movement for the people of France. The statue of wisdom symbolized this Republican religion. An inaugural ceremony was held for the celebration of rebellion against the one true God.

Changes imposed during the Reign of Terror

During the Terror, the Committee of Public Safety exercised virtual dictatorial control over French government (Encyclopaedia Britannica Online). During the Reign of Terror, very hard measures were taken against all the suspected people. They were considered as the enemies of the Revolution. In the provinces, local terrors were instituted by the surveillance committees and also the representatives had a mission of killing the suspected people. The lower classes demanded for price-control measure during the Terror. The religious side of the country suffered a lot. The followers of the Jacques Hebert pursued the communism programs. During this "Great Terror," more than 1400 people were executed and that later contributed to Robespierre fall. Studies show that approximately 310,000 suspects were arrested and more than 17,000 were executed officially. Uncountable people died in prison. Jacques Hebert introduced way of worshipping a goddess of Reason. The older Gregorian calendar was replaced by the new dictatorship. The old calendar was based on Christianity, while the new calendar had days and names in rhythm with the modern times spirit. The churches were totally converted in to the temples of reason. Some were also converted in to museums of reasons. The week had ten days along with some public holidays. Robespierre took extreme actions to enforce these changes upon the public. The man power and talent was sent to the Guillotine so that in future it does not become a threat to the new Revolution. The Reign of Terror was simply an ungodly regime. It executed innumerable people, who had a capability of standing against the new revolution. Studies tell that within seven weeks, the new regime managed to send 1376 people to the guillotine. The Reign of Terror left extremely bad effects on the people of France.

Outcome and After Effects of the Reign of Terror

In March 1794, Jacques Hebert was arrested and executed. Some other ultra-revolutionaries were also executed. One month after, Georges Danton and his followers were also executed. They were the ones, who advocated the relaxation of some emergency measures. Robespierre proclaimed the Supreme Being's cult. He did this to encounter the influence of the Hebert. Later Robespierre was also executed along with his fellows. He had a fear that the Terror would turn against him. Basically what happened was that the supporters of the Robespierre started to feel that the Terror should end now and this was also felt by the radical Jacobins. Robespierre had a clear idea about the reputation of Danton. Once during a Convention, Danton rose and called for an end to the Reign of Terror. He was then executed because a decree was passed by the Convention that Danton insulted the court. Being the accused person, he was prohibited for speaking any single word regarding his own defense. When the court ordered for the execution of Georges Danton, he spoke that his enemies will be torn down by the people within three months. He also wished that his head should be shown to the general people. In the year 1974, Robespierre called for a new purge as he wanted to threat the people of his committee. Finally Cambon rose and said that it is the right time to tell the truth to the general public. He clearly said that Robespierre is the only person, who is paralyzing the Convention's will. He was then quickly arrested. Later he was sent to the guillotine. Robespierre was the last victim of the Reign of Terror. He had no idea that he established terror as the order of the day and then he was himself executed. The Reign of Terror had caused too much bloodshed and instability. The people of France had grown tired of all this. They wanted something moderate to happen. The executive power was then given to five people and the Republic existed no more. The name of the new government was "The Directory." This was the end of the French Revolution.

The End of the French Revolution

Several books have been written on the French Revolution, including the details of the Reign of Terror. This revolution seemed a failure in the year 1799. By the year 1815, this revolution almost nullified. It did not affect the general public and the state affairs any further. Landowning and the bourgeois class emerged as the powerful and dominant class in France. The Code of Napoleon consolidated the contractual relations and the social order. Also the feudalism died. France was unified by the revolution and it also enhanced the national state's power. The ancient structure of the Europe was torn down by both Napoleon and Revolutionary Wars. These wars inaugurated the modern era and hastened the nationalism advent. Reign of Terror is also viewed by the historians as an ominous precursor of the totalitarianism of the modern age. Democratic institutions such as constitutions, representative government and elections were established by the Revolution. Historians write that French Revolution brought a dramatic change in the lives of the French. Their clothes as well as their entire life style changed. There was no longer the rule of king, the slavery ended and also the feudal systems were abolished. Establishment of the metric system took place. This happened due to the Revolutionary leaders. They wanted to establish free public schools but due o various economic problems, there were not able to do so. The…[continue]

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