Robespierre and his dictatorship of Terror

Robespierre and his dictatorship of Terror

Maximilien Robespierre was one of the most prominent politicians of the French Revolution of 1789. At the beginning of his career he was characterized by his democratic and tolerant position, but being the leader of the Jacobins he managed to rise to power in France and establish a dictatorship of Terror, where he commanded uncompromisingly over all his colleagues. In the end, the justice of the Convention wanted him to be guillotined, in the same way that, years before, he had finished with those who had risen against his reign of terror.

Robespierre He was born on May 6, 1758 in Arras (France) into a wealthy family. This allowed him to study law and become a lawyer. His first position was that of Criminal Judge of the Diocese of Arras, although he also served as legal defender of those who had fewer resources. This, together with the opposition he felt to the death penalty and the notoriety he began to accumulate as a writer, placed him as one of Arras's most prominent lawyers.

Seeing that he had a great popular support, he ran for the elections of the States General in April 1789 and managed to be elected as the fifth deputy of the Third Estate in Artois. His first stage as a politician was characterized by being a convinced speaker and he made more than 150 speeches. However, he failed to prevail over the constituent assembly, of which he was one of the few Democratic members.

As the days passed, he took a position more and more extremist. It was seen that he had great influences from Rousseau's thought and that he was convinced that the main thing was to protect the needs of the people and to fight against the aristocratic Party. This allowed him to animate the "club of the Jacobins", a group that he would end up leading as of the summer of 1792.

Due to his simple life, he was rated as “incorruptibleBy many of his rivals. He denounced the conflict between France and Austria in 1792 and declared himself “enemy of war”.

In the elections to the National Convention which were held by universal suffrage in September 1792, he was elected MP for Paris and belonged to the so-called "mountaineers", which were called that because they had the seats in the upper part of the hemicycle. The highlanders voted in favor of the king's execution and began a smear campaign against the Girondists.

Robespierre adopted as its main objective to fight against the Girondin Brissot and those who supported them. Thanks to the support of the Paris Commune and from the assemblies of sans-culottes of the districts of the French capital, he succeeded in having them excluded in May 1793.

However, the situation of the Republic in 1783 it was extremely serious: harassed from abroad and with riots within. To combat this scenario, Robespierre declared the need for a centralizing dictatorial power, based on virtue and in terror. The Assembly then decided to create the so-called Public Salvation Committee, a body endowed with special powers to fight against all threats that were presented to it.

On July 27, 1793, Robespierre joined the Committee and showed his qualities as a statesman. Spreading terror and fear that the extremists were enemy agents, he convinced the Convention to grant them executive power. From here the blackest stage of the French Revolution would begin. First there was the elimination of the exalted (or Hebertists) in March 1794, and after the moderates (or Dantonists) in April of that same year.

In late 1794, Robespierre He already served as the spokesman for the successful executive branch and became the owner of France. During his dictatorship he reinforced the regime of Terror and imposed on the French the cult of the Supreme Being. After Fleurus's victory on June 26, 1794, which once again raised revolutionary France, his harsh regime became intolerable by the citizenry.

On July 27, 1794, Robespierre, his brother Agustín and his friends, among whom was Saint-Just, were arrested by the Assembly in the so-called “Thermidorian coup”. Although the Commune revolted in favor of Robespierre, the Convention was relentless: it arrested him and he was guillotined.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.


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