Maximillien Robespierre

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Maximillien Robespierre

Maximillien Robespierre is commonly viewed as the symbol of the Reign of Terror, the short period in which thousands of people were executed because they were thought to be traitors. However, Maximillien was actually an idealistic reformer with an image of peace and equality driving him on, who is unfairly credited with the Terror, and assumed to be a power-hungry tyrant.

Maximillien was able to attend a prominent educational institution. He became an intelligent person and pursued a career in law. His practice exposed him to an interest in humanity and the abused rights of many people (Hanson 32). Maximillien was opposed to violence. While a judge, he condemned a murderer and, according to his sister, was up all night repeating “I know he is to blame. He is a rascal... but to kill a man...” (Eagan 18) He was concerned only with getting justice in peaceful ways. He had considered various ways their society could be reformed by law (DMOZ). He was a dedicated subject to the royalty, but had dreams of a republic. Robespierre said, “In Republican governments, men are all equal; they are also equal in despotic governments; in the former, because they are everything; in the latter, because they are nothing” (Carr 63).

Robespierre had very good intentions. His main goal was creating a world of “brotherly love” where people were all united in friendship (Furet 1970, 199). Basically a utopia. At one time, under Robespierre’s influence, the Committee of Public Safety announced its efforts for a world of perpetual peace. There would be no more diplomats, armies, or bloodshed. They would not perform any act of war with the view of making conquests or use its force against the liberties of anyone (Gaxotte 85). In February 1794, Robespierre stated that his motive was:

The tranquil enjoyment of liberty and equality; the reign of that eternal justice, the laws of which are graven, not on marble or stone, but in the hearts of men, even in the heart of the slave who has forgotten them, and in that of the tyrant who disowns them.

Unfortunately only Robespierre was really against war, not the Committee of Public Safety (Gaxotte 125). His reason against war was his involvement in religion. He was of the highest standards and avoided anything questionable to his faith (Furet ...

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