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Lecture 11

HIS244H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Olympe De Gouges, Maximilien Robespierre, Young Noble

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HIS244H1: Lecture #11 Wednesday, June 20th/2012
The Terror
When we left off…Louis the 16th has just be executed
Spring 1793: Frances military campaign is not going very well
o Heightened sense of vulnerability on the part of the French Republic
o Military commanders change sides no longer supports Republic
however his crews refuse to follow him
1793: insurrections
o Loyalty to the Catholic church and monarchy were particularly strong
o Rebel against revolution, and lead a military counter-revolution
August 1793: military conscription decreed
o Creates widespread discontent
o Republic feels threatened both from the outside and inside (people
starting to rebel and try to put down the revolution from within)
o Divisions all start to appear Girondists (de-centralization of the state,
economic freedom, mostly from Bordeux, think that economic freedom
will be better for their own business) vs. Mountains (greater state control,
against autonomy for the provinces) Jacobins (those not with them
were automatically against them, if your against the general will your
against the common good)
Under the pressure of the Sansculottes the Jacobins order the arrests of
Girodists (purge of them in June)
o That gives control over the assembly to the Jacobins
o Raises more oppositions in the provinces (Federalists revolt)
o Considered the first acts of the Terror
o In the Summer Committee of Public Safety produces laws permitting
arrests, immediate trial of armed insurgents
o Terror characterized by this siege mentally siege domestic enemies
o Terror is necessary according to Robespierre
o 1793 for the new republic new constitution adopted never really
enacted and quickly suspended
Establish idea of a republic of virtue (Robespierre)
o Moral political regime
Parisian masses gave the Terror lots of support
o Robespierre is weary about the influence of the masses
o Thinks it will transition to a more democratic society
o Has to keep them satisfied to prevent them from revolting
Revolutionary tribunal put in place to judge the suspected enemies of the
o Becomes very arbitrary and does not follow the rule of law
o No fair trial for the accused
o Political consideration outweighed decisions of law
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o Terrorists in Paris relied on clubs to purge networks they use when they
send representatives on missions to the French provinces (purge and
eliminate men and women who opposed the will of the Republic)
o In the end the Terror was a fairly bloody episode 30,000-40,000 died
under a year
o Famous means of execution guillotine, drowning, shooting
o Victims were mostly ordinary people thought to be not specifically
patriotic, 15% come from nobility and clergy (very disproportionate)
o 300,000 people arrested over those monthes, some had trials and were
released, while others were still in prison even when the Terror came to
an end
Republic of virtue brought about drastic social changes in France
o Women’s participation is cut down in the public sphere, it’s considered
o Ban women from attending the sessions of the assembly, executed a
number of women (Mme. Roland, Olympe de Gouges, Mme. Du Barry,
Marie Antoinette), disassembled women’s political clubs
o IRONIC: Revolutionaries chose a female figure to represent the French
Republic (MARIANNE)
Virtuous embodiment of the republic
Visible change from masculine iconography associated with the
Abstract principles
Septor replaced by the faces associated with the roman republic,
strength, and unity, the nation everyone coming together which
forms the sovereignty
Symbols of the roman republic
o Committee to devise a system of standardized system all over France
(metric system)
o Radical revolutionaries also began a campaign of dechristianization, close
churches and remove some Christian symbols from public spaces, some
even tried to form a cult of reason instead of Catholic Church results in
a failure people who supported the revolution were not willing to
renounce their faith
Jean-Paul Marat
Started publishing his journal “L’Ami du people” – friend of the people very
aggressive in his publication denouncing people he thought were enemies of
the revolution, advocated for the physical elimination for the enemies of the
revolution 1792 marat elected to the convention when the republic was
established, first joins the Mountain, but he’s too intense for them
People listen to what he has to say great influence over Jacobins at the time
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