Introducing topics within a historical period. Open book assessment Outcome 1 and 2 Sarah Peppier; HAND Class C Word Count; 1558 By looking at the primary sources provided and secondary sources, it is possible to form arguments as to whether the Terror’ of 1793-4 was a necessary response to the challenges facing the new French Republic at the time of the French Revolution. There is evidence that both the terror was necessary in supporting the new French republic, and that the terror was taken to an extreme which was not necessary.
After the capture and execution of the King, the new republican government began. At the time of this new republican government beginning, the people of France were still angry and wanted to gain some power back. This lead to violence from both the people of France, fighting for their struggles to live with rising prices, and violence from the new government who were trying to gain control over the situation. As violence was such an integral part of society at this time, this led to ‘The Terror’.
(Cough, 201 0) During the terror there were key events which took place.
Firstly, the people of France had become angry at their Monarch s he had decided to flee and not work alongside his new assembly of advisors. This lead to the formation off mob in Paris, who stormed the Kings palace where he was captured and later executed. This mob spread through the streets Of Paris and the September Massacres took place, where thousands of people were brutally murdered in the streets. This caused the new Republican government to take drastic action in order to bring the streets under control and in such a degree of violence from the government needed to be used. Reese, 2008) Also during the terror, many royalists and opposition to the republicans fought the government. This led to civil war across France, and famously a war in the Vend©e. As the nobility and priest’s in the Vend©e rebelled against the new republic, the republicans dispatched over 45,000 troops to bring control over the region. The result was a particularly bloody massacre in which the republican troops were ordered to destroy the Vend©e and all who were in it, regardless of age, gender or involvement in the rebellion.
It is thought that around 20,000-50,000 Vender’s were killed during the war there and another 11,000-15,000 were featured by the republicans. (Martin, 2013) The Committee of Public safety was then set up in April 1793 to help to maintain the war effort against Austria and Prussia, and protect France. The chairmen of this committee were George Dayton and Maximize Robberies. Both Dayton and Robberies were members of the Jacobin club which supported the revolution greatly and agreed with the need for violence to maintain the revolution. Reese, 2008) The murder of Mart, an influential journalist, in July 1793 greater intensified the terror. It had been intended to curb the violence f the terror, bringing Mares extreme revolutionary views to an end. However it had the opposite effect as it gave the revolutionary Jacobin a reason to seek revenge as such and fight harder for their cause. (Reese, 2008) If we look at source 1, Pierre Spared Accumulate?s (President of the Paris Commune) speech to the National Convention on the 5th of September 1 793, we can see that he is of the opinion that there was a great injustice to the people of France.
He felt that the new republic offered stability, and any enemies of this republic must be destroyed. Checkmate also stated that enemies of the republic were willing to force the French people to give up their freedom and starve them unless something was done about it. Checkmate was a radical Jacobin who wanted the revolutionary government to use violence in order to get food to the starving people of France. This justifies the violence used during the terror, to help the new republic to take control back. (Checkmate, 1 793) This source was written at the time making it useful in understanding the thoughts of Checkmate at the time.
However, as the author of the source is a radical Jacobin, it will only give us his own extreme point of view. Robberies believed that the terror was necessary to the revolution to ensure that it succeeded. He saw the violence that occurred as being virtuous in some ways as it helped to keep the revolution in process. In his speech at the festival of the Supreme Being (Source 3) on the 8th of June, 1794, he said that France now had the strength to be TABLE to carry out the necessary steps to ensure that anyone who oppressed the people would be destroyed, as the Supreme Being would have wanted them to.
Robberies also said in his speech that the republic was the provider of redeem and justice for all the people of France, and that the previous monarchy had brought deceitfulness and greed. He argued that it was up to the republicans to bring back justice to the people, and he fully supported that violence would need to be used to do this. (Robberies, 1 794) This source is useful as it was written near the end of the terror by someone who was greatly involved in the events of the terror. It is biased however as it only reflects the opinion of Robberies, who was passionate about the success of the revolution.
However, other historians are of the view that the violence hat occurred during the terror was not as justified in the defense of the new republic, and that it was instead just a show of the extreme that the republicans would go to in upholding their idealistic views. Franџis r-ret is a well-known historian who does not agree with the argument that the terror was crucial in the success of the new republican government. He felt that the level of violence was unnecessary and merely a result of blood lust and cruelty which were part of society at the time. Newly, 2008) The dissatisfaction of France by the republicans was the effort to renounce all Christian belief from France in the hope to add more power to the new republican government. This lead to attacks on symbols of faith through vandalism, destroying religious buildings and around 20,000 priests being forced to give up their preaching and leave France. Anyone who resisted this was executed. A new revolutionary calendar was introduced as of the 22nd of September 1792, which broke away from the Christian calendar including Christmas and Easter.
However many saw this as counterproductive to the revolution as it was thought that faith was vital to gaining order among the French people. By destroying all signs of religion through the use of violence made people angry, and in turn just caused more violence to ensue. Although Robberies agreed that violence would need to be used in the fight for the success of the new republic, he was among those who did not agree with these acts Of violence in trying to eradicate Christianity in France as he felt it was politically dangerous with the majority of people at this time being religious. Newly, 2008; Reese, 2008) The caricature in source 2, ‘The Radical Arms’ by George Cruickshank made in 1819 also envoys the idea that the violence of the terror was not justified. (Cruickshank, 181 9) Cruickshank was a British illustrator who felt that the terror of the revolution had been destructive. The image shows a drunken male and female under a coat of arms which is depicted as the guillotine with bloody axes and the trillion French banner reading, ‘No God! No Religion! No King! No Constitution! It also shows them as being scruffy looking with ragged clothes on and religious and royal items being trodden on under their feet. Cruickshank was trying to convey the idea that the revolution had in fact deed to a violent society where most of France had been executed, and there was no order as a result. He felt that if the British Radicals were given the power to allow more people to vote, that Britain would go through a similar ‘Terror’. This source was made out with France, and after the terror took place.
It is bias in its view and reflects the authors need for the people of Britain to follow the constitution and not rebel. It gives us a good insight into his own beliefs but does not give us a wider view, During the war in the Vend©e, a great deal of brutal violence was used, but many see this particular eroded of the terror as being genocide, focusing on a particular group of French people rather than a necessary response from the republic to take control through the use of violence.
It is thought that the revolutionary government lost sight of their goals and the cause that they were fighting for and instead were involved in a mass execution with little purpose. (Hubert, 1982) In conclusion, although there are reasons in which a degree of violence was needed to help the new French Republic, the amount of violence which did take place was unnecessary. A certain amount of violence was essential room the government to restore order to the streets during a period of social unrest, but the mass murders and brutality that was experienced was beyond the cause of the revolution and was a result of the need for bloodshed.
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