Jean Paul Marat: Target and Martyr of Liberty

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Jean Paul Marat: Target and Martyr of Liberty

The French Revolution produced countless influential politicians throughout its tumultuous course. As a political figure in the French Revolution, Jean Paul Marat began as a nonentity and became a martyr to the revolutionary patriots of France. His influence is often misconstrued, and sometimes overlooked. Although he was not a political leader like Robespierre, his influence was substantial in that he motivated many people through his writings and powerful personality. Through his involvement with the Cordeliers’ Club and his journal Ami du peuple, started September 1789, Marat was able to express the indignation of the bourgeois class through his hopes for social revolution. His conspiracy theories and alleged prophetic outlook on the Revolution created an aura of mystery and intrigue around him, as well as detestation. Because he often stood alone behind his radical ideas, Marat became marked as the scapegoat for various controversial events of the period, and was several times forced into hiding to evade the law. Targeting Marat was an easy and effective way for the warring factions in the National Convention to assert their political dominance. It is curious how a virtual unknown and newcomer to government could become so crucial to the politics of the French Revolution, only to be murdered by another unknown in a seemingly isolated event. Marat’s assassination played a great part in what became the cycle of the Terror. Even though he was not a preeminent leader, both his life and death had an impact on the course of the Revolution. Because of his incendiary political beliefs and bold nature, the government targeted Marat, however, his assassination by the outsid...

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