French Revolution

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade April 2001

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French Revolution Terror has been commonly used through history as a device that controls. Many times it has been used for the greater good of man, other times it has been used to destroy. The French revolution was one of these periods of time in which terror was used with a positive intent, but had many negative consequences. Following the demise of the monarchy in France, moderates had control of the government, but the Jacobins soon purged the moderates from the National Convention.

Terror in revolutionary France was first brought onto the Nobles, and upper class. This was done many times to appease the masses. But later the peasant class was significantly targeted outside of France. Louis Antoine de Saint-Just gave a speech in front of revolutionary supporters claiming that the greatest misfortune that was taking place was that a certain fear of the concentration of authority was necessary to save the state (Doc 5).

This does make sense, but it still does not justify the killings. Forms of terror were first introduced as a way to bring the country together in Paris. The terror was aspect was fine, until it turned on it self, and those in power believed that to stay in power they must not just use terror but death. Making people fearful and respectful of a government is one thing, but to get that respect and fear through thoughtless murder is wrong. Many of the revolutionary leaders tried to rationalize the murders because those who were being murdered were being done so because of indulgence (Doc 5).

The people in the city of Paris made up the greatest number of Robespierre supporters, this was simply because of the show and frenzy the public executions were causing. Camille Desmoulins, a former ally of Robespierre, once joked that...