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Lecture 6

HUMA 1825 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Maximilien Robespierre, Tyrant, Mainspring

Course Code
HUMA 1825
Neil Braganza

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Afia Muhammad
HUMA 1825 Study Questions
All page references are to the photocopy of Robespierres text.
1. How does Robespierre try to convince his audience to execute the king without a trial?
The king shouldn't get a trial and he should be executed the points being
that Robespierre brings up is that he says if we remove the king with a trial it will disrupt the
peace and freedom so it basically means instead of executing the king if you give him a trial it is
going to cause disruption in society, because it will create rebellion because tyrants can have
their own supporters so by having their own supporters those supporters can cause a rebellion
that can cause disruption of the peace as well. If we give a tyrant a trial, you're basically saying
justice doesn't matter all that much or so you're basically giving him a second chance
for the trial, this is like an appeal if you lose the first time you're giving him a second chance
which is weakening the justice you're not standing by the first ruling, by overthrowing the king
is an act of rebellion. Those who champion the king rekindle the dispute between despotism and
liberty and they sanction blasphemy of the republic and the people and so by overthrowing the
king those who are with him or for him are going against the prospects of a democracy and so
what that does is it goes against the republic and the people. So by having a trial you are going
against the king, you don't want to support the king you want to do as much as you can to be
against him because of the fact he is a tyrant and so because of that you want to overthrow him
and that's an act of rebellion, its better that way instead of having him go to trial, because were
all just followers of the king so you cannot have him tried since hes the one whose making the
rules and hes not living up to those rules that he made so that's why this has to be done. All the
rules would be in his favor considering he is the one who had made the rules in the first place. If
you give him a trial you are basically giving the tyrant you are basically overturning the trial
because there is a trial and there is going to be other riots and rebellions because of the
supporters. Having a trial is a counter revolutionary idea so it puts the revolution itself which is
a major aspect of the republic it kind of put it in a position where its not as important. A trial is
dangerous and causes rebellion because in a trial you have two sides the acquittal and
the acquitted and you could also be sentenced whereas if he is acquitted what this does he could
be innocent and not be sentenced and that is counter revolutionary. By putting him on trial and
opening up the debate you're exposing damage, the merits of the whole revolution, if the
trial discredits what the revolutionary did than the entire spring that's holding the revolutionary
will fall apart suppressing that opposition so by having a trial and
everything hes doing you're putting it all in jeopardy. It is necessary for executing the king
because if you keep him alive there will always be a hope for the remaining royalist.
2. How does Robespierre describe the goals of the French Revolution? (see pages 110 -
So he says that the goal is people in liberty and poverty and he also says that rule of political
conduct is to relate all the operation to the maintenance of equality and the development of
virtue, virtue is the mainspring of democracy and this virtue can be described as a love for the
homeland or patriotism and this patriotism should be the peoples ambition.
Patriotism necessarily embraces equality because its a love for democracy, which is a public
institution, patriotism which also strengthens the principle of the government because you are
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