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The REIGN OF TERROR or THE TERROR (French: _la Terreur_) is the label given by some historians to a period during the French Revolution.

Several historians consider the "reign of terror" to have begun in 1793, placing the starting date at either 5 September, June or March (birth of the Revolutionary Tribunal ), while some consider it to have begun in September 1792 ( September Massacres ), or even July 1789 (when the first decapitations took place), but there is a general consensus that it ended with the fall of Robespierre in July 1794 .

Between June 1793 and the end of July 1794, there were 16,594 official death sentences in France, of which 2,639 were in Paris. However, the total number of deaths in France was much higher, owing to death in imprisonment, suicide and casualties in foreign and civil war.


* 1 Barère and Robespierre glorify "terror" * 2 Major events during \'the terror\' * 3 Thermidorian Reaction * 4 See also * 5 References

* 6 Further reading

* 6.1 Primary sources * 6.2 Secondary sources * 6.3 Historiography

* 7 External links


See also: History of France § Counter-revolution subdued (July 1793–April 1794) Bertrand Barère .

There was a sense of emergency among leading politicians in France in the summer of 1793 between the widespread civil war and counter-revolution. Mr. Barère exclaimed on 5 September 1793 in the Convention: "Let's make terror the order of the day!" They were determined to avoid street violence such as the September Massacres of 1792 by taking violence into their own hands as an instrument of government. Maximilien Robespierre , member of the Committee of Public Safety .

Robespierre in February 1794 in a speech explained the necessity of terror:

If the basis of popular government in peacetime is virtue, the basis of popular government during a revolution is both virtue and terror; virtue, without which terror is baneful; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing more than speedy, severe and inflexible justice; it is thus an emanation of virtue; it is less a principle in itself, than a consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing needs of the _patrie_ .

Some historians argue that such terror was a necessary reaction to the circumstances. Others suggest there were also other causes, including ideological and emotional.


Main articles: History of France § Revolutionary France (1789–1799) , and France § Revolutionary France (1789–1799)

On 10 March 1793 the National Convention created the Revolutionary Tribunal . Among those charged by the tribunal, about a half were acquitted (though the number dropped to about a quarter after the enactment of the Law of 22 Prairial ). Among people who were condemned, about 8% were aristocrats, 6% clergy, 14% middle class, and 72% were workers or peasants. In March rebellion broke out in the Vendée in response to mass conscription, which developed into a civil war that lasted until after the Terror.

On 6 April the Committee of Public Safety was created, which gradually became the de facto war-time government.

On 2 June, the Parisian sans-culottes surrounded the National Convention , calling for administrative and political purges, a low fixed price for bread, and a limitation of the electoral franchise to _sans-culottes _ alone. With the backing of the national guard , they persuaded the convention to arrest 29 Girondist leaders. In reaction to the imprisonment of the Girondin deputies, some thirteen departments started the Federalist revolt against the National Convention in Paris, which was ultimately crushed. On 24 June, the convention adopted the first republican constitution of France, the French Constitution of 1793 . It was ratified by public referendum , but never put into force.

On 13th of July the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat – a Jacobin leader and journalist – resulted in a further increase in Jacobin political influence. Georges Danton , the leader of the August 1792 uprising against the king , was removed from the committee. On 27 July, Robespierre made his entrance. The execution of the Girondins .

On 23 August, the National Convention decreed the Leveé en masse , "The young men shall fight; the married man shall forge arms and transport provisions; the women shall make tents and clothes and shall serve in the hospitals; the children shall turn all lint into linen; the old men shall betake themselves to the public square in order to arouse the courage of the warriors and preach hatred of kings and the unity of the Republic."

On 9 September, the convention established paramilitary forces, the "revolutionary armies", to force farmers to surrender grain demanded by the government. On 17 September, the Law of Suspects was passed, which authorized the imprisonment of vaguely defined "suspects". This created a mass overflow in the prison systems. On 29 September, the convention extended price fixing from grain and bread to other essential goods, and also fixed wages.

On 10 October, the Convention decreed that "the provisional government shall be revolutionary until peace." On 24 October, the French Republican Calendar was enacted. The trial of the Girondins started on the same day and they were executed on 31 October. The execution of Olympe de Gouges , feminist writer close to the Girondins

Anti-clerical sentiments increased during 1793 and a campaign of dechristianization occurred. On 10 November (20 Brumaire Year II of the French Republican Calender), the Hébertists organized a Festival of Reason .

On 14 Frimaire (5 December 1793) was passed the Law of Frimaire , which gave the central government more control over the actions of the representatives on mission.

On 16 Pluviôse (4 February 1794), the National Convention decreed that slavery be abolished in all of France and French colonies.

On 8 and 13 Ventôse,(26 February and 3 March) Saint-Just proposed decrees to confiscate the property of exiles and opponents of the revolution, known as the Ventôse Decrees .

By the end of 1793, two major factions had emerged, both threatening the Revolutionary Government: the Hébertists , who called for an intensification of the Terror and threatened insurrection, and the Dantonists, led by Georges Danton , who demanded moderation and clemency. The Committee of Public Safety took actions against both. The major Hébertists were tried before the Revolutionary Tribunal and executed on 24 March. The Dantonists were arrested on 30 March, tried on 3rd to 5th April and executed on 5th April.

On 20 Prairial (8 June) was celebrated across the country the Festival of the Supreme Being, which was part of the Cult of the Supreme Being , a deist national religion. On 22 Prairial (10 June), the National Convention passed a law proposed by Georges Couthon , known as the Law of 22 Prairial , which simplified the judicial process and greatly accelerated the work of the Revolutionary Tribunal . With the enactment of the law, the number of executions greatly increased, and the period from this time to the Thermidorian Reaction became known as "The Grand Terror".

On 8 Messidor (26 June), the French army won the Battle of Fleurus , which marked a turning point in France's military campaign and undermined the necessity of wartime measures and the legitimacy of the Revolutionary Government.


Main article: Thermidorian Reaction The execution of Maximilien Robespierre

The fall of Robespierre was brought about by a combination of those who wanted more power for the Committee of Public Safety (and a more radical policy than he was willing to allow) and the moderates who completely opposed the revolutionary government. They had, between them, made the Law of 22 Prairial one of the charges against him, so that, after his fall, to advocate terror would be seen as adopting the policy of a convicted enemy of the republic, putting the advocate's own head at risk. During his arrest, Robespierre may have tried to commit suicide before his execution by shooting himself, although the bullet only shattered his jaw. Alternatively, he may have been shot by the gendarme Merda. Indeed, so great was the confusion during the storming of the municipal Hall of Paris, where Robespierre and his friends had found refuge, that it is impossible to decide between these two scenarios. He was guillotined the next day.

The reign of the standing Committee of Public Safety was ended. New members were appointed the day after Robespierre's execution, and term limits were imposed (a quarter of the committee retired every three months); its powers were reduced piece by piece.


* Bals des victimes * Tricoteuse * Drownings at Nantes


* ^ _A_ _B_ "Reign of Terror". Encyclopædia Britannica (2015). Retrieved 19 April 2017. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Linton, Marisa. "The Terror in the French Revolution" (PDF). Kingston University. Retrieved 2 December 2011. * ^ The dates July 1789, September 1792, March 1793 as starting date for the Reign of Terror (French: _la Terreur_) are given in the French, referring to source: Jean-Clément Martin, _La Terreur, part maudite de la Révolution_ ('The Terror, the cursed part of the Revolution'), Découvertes/Gallimard, 2010, p. 14–15. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Linton, Marisa (August 2006). "Robespierre and the terror: Marisa Linton reviews the life and career of one of the most vilified men in history.". _History Today_. 8 (56): 23. Retrieved 28 April 2017. * ^ Noah Shusterman – _The French Revolution. Faith, Desire, and Politics._ Routledge, London and New York, 2014. Chapter 7 (p. 175–203): The federalist revolt, the Vendée, and the start of the Terror (summer–fall 1793). * ^ (in French) \'30 août 1793 – La terreur à l\'ordre du jour!\' Website Vendéens & Chouans. Retrieved 6 July 2017. * ^ Halsall, Paul (1997). "Maximilien Robespierre: On the Principles of Political Morality, February 1794". Fordham University. Retrieved 5 March 2016. * ^ Mathiez, Albert. _La Révolution Française_. Librairie Armand Colin. ISBN 978-7-100-07058-4 . * ^ Furet, Francois. _A Deep-rooted Ideology as Well as Circumstance_, p. 224. * ^ Tackett, Timothy (2015-02-23). _The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution_. Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674736559 . * ^ "French Revolution". _History.com_. The History Channel . Retrieved 24 October 2007. * ^ Jones, Peter. _The French Revolution 1787–1804_. Pearson Education, 2003, p. 57. * ^ Merriman, John (2004). "Thermidor" (2nd ed.). _A history of modern Europe: from the Renaissance to the present_, p 507. W.W. Norton Henry Essex Edgeworth (1961) . Sidney Scott, ed. _Journal of the Terror_. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. OCLC 3153946 .


* Andress, David (2006). _The Terror: The Merciless War for Freedom in Revolutionary France_. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-27341-3 . * Baker, Keith M. François Furet, and Colin Lucas, eds. (1987) _The French Revolution and the Creation of Modern Political Culture, vol. 4, The Terror_ (London: Pergamon Press, 1987) * Beik, William (August 2005). "The Absolutism of Louis XIV as Social Collaboration: Review Article". _Past and Present_. 188: 195–224. doi :10.1093/pastj/gti019 . * Censer, Jack, and Lynn Hunt (2001). _Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution_. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. * Hunt, Lynn (1984). _Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution_. Berkeley: University of California Press. * Gough, Hugh. _The terror in the French revolution_ (London: Macmillan, 1998) * Hibbert, Christopher (1981). _The Days of the French Revolution_. New York: Quill-William Morrow. ISBN 978-0-688-16978-7 . * Kerr, Wilfred Brenton (1985). _Reign of Terror, 1793–1794_. London: Porcupine Press. ISBN 0-87991-631-1 . * Linton, Marisa (August 2006). "Robespierre and the terror: Marisa Linton reviews the life and career of one of the most vilified men in history, (Maximilien Robespierre)(Biography)". _History Today_. 8 (56): 23. * Linton, Marisa, _Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship and Authenticity in the French Revolution_ (Oxford University Press, 2013). * Loomis, Stanley (1964). _Paris in the Terror_. New York: Dorset Press. ISBN 0-88029-401-9 . * Moore, Lucy (2006). _Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France_. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-720601-1 .

* Steel, Mark (2003). _Vive La Revolution_. London: Scribner. ISBN 0-7432-0806-4 .

* Reviewed by Adam Thorpe in _ The Guardian _, 23 December 2006.

* Palmer, R. R. (2005). _Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of the Terror in the French Revolution_. Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-12187-7 . * Schama, Simon (1989). _Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution _. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 678–847. ISBN 0-394-55948-7 . * Scott, Otto (1974). _Robespierre, The Fool as Revolutionary – Inside the French Revolution_. Windsor, New York: The Reformer Library. ISBN 978-1-887690-05-8 . * Shulim, Joseph I. "Robespierre and the French Revolution," _American Historical Review_ (1977) 82#1 pp. 20–38 in JSTOR * Soboul, Albert . "Robespierre and the Popular Movement of 1793–4", _Past and Present_, No. 5. (May 1954), pp. 54–70. in JSTOR * Sutherland, D.M.G. (2003) _The French Revolution and Empire: The Quest for a Civic Order_ pp 174–253

* Wahnich, Sophie (2016). _In Defence of the Terror: Liberty or Death in the French Revolution_ (Reprint ed.). Verso. ISBN 978-1784782023 .

* Reviewed by Ruth Scurr in _The Guardian_, 17 August 2012

* Weber, Caroline. (2003) _Terror and Its Discontents: Suspect Words in Revolutionary France_ online


* Kafker, Frank, James M. Lauz, and Darline Gay Levy (2002). _The French Revolution: Conflicting Interpretations_. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company. * Rudé, George (1976). _Robespierre: Portrait of a Revolutionary Democrat_. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-60128-4 . A Marxist political portrait of Robespierre, examining his changing image among historians and the different aspects of Robespierre as an 'ideologue', as a political democrat, as a social democrat, as a practitioner of revolution, as a politician and as a popular leader/leader of revolution, it also touches on his legacy for the future revolutionary leaders Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong .


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