The reign of terror was the period of the French Revolution characterized by a wave of executions of presumed enemies of the state. Directed by the Committee of Public Safety the Revolutionary government's Terror was essentially a war dictatorship instituted to rule the country in a national emergency. Initially the Committee of Public Safety was created to preserve the reforms of the French Revolution. Their aim was to eliminate all internal counterrevolutionary elements to raise new armies and to assure food supplies for the armies and cities (Hampson, 1963, p 132). The Committee of Public Safety tried to deal with Frances problems by using terror as a means of persuasion. The question is was the use of terror an effective means of dealing with these problems?
By the summer of 1792 disaffection with the Revolution had grown among the lower classes especially the peasantry. The middle class and the wealthier members of the Third Estate had staged the Revolution and most of the reforms especially the economic reforms benefited only these two groups.
In many ways life had become harder for the lower classes. Agricultural enclosure threw many peasants off their farms and into the arms of starvation. Economic reforms had spurred tremendous growth in industries but had also resulted in wildly fluctuating prices and rampant inflation (Jones, 1969, p 92). This was the state of the country that the Committee of Public Safety inherited.
It was announced at the Convention that its goal was to create a viable republican state amid political turmoil by means of intimidation and ultimately terror indeed the proclamation of terror was used as a means to establish a peaceful stable government. The aim of the constitutional government was to establish a republic and the aim of revolutionary government was to preserve it. This was...