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Transcript of Chapter 16
reform and terror
End of the terror
In July 1794, fearing for their own safety, some members of the National
Convention turned on Robespierre. They demanded his arrest and execution. The
Reign of Terror, the radical phase of the French Revolution, ended on July 28,
1794, when Robespierre went to the guillotine.
French public opinion shifted dramatically after Robespierre’s death. People of
all classes had grown weary of the Terror so moderate leaders in the National Convention drafted a new plan of government. It placed power firmly in the hands of the upper middle class and called for a twohouse legislature and an executive body of five men, known as the Directory. Some of them were corrupt and made themselves rich at the country’s expense. Even so, they gave their troubled country a period of order. They also found the right general to command France’s armies—Napoleon Bonaparte.
War and execution
A limited Monarchy
: In September 1791, the National Assembly completed the new constitution.The constitution created a limited constitutional monarchy. It stripped the king of much of his authority. It also created a new legislative body––the Legislative Assembly. This body had the power to create laws and to approve or reject declarations of war.
Factions Split France:
Problems such as food shortages and government debt, remained. The question of how to handle these problems caused the Legislative Assembly to split into three general groups:
Radicals: who sat on the left side of the hall, opposed the idea of a monarchy.
Moderates: sat in the center of the hall and wanted some changes in government.
Conservatives: sat on the right side of the hall. They upheld the idea of a limited monarchy and wanted few changes in government.
Emigres:nobles and others who had fled France, hoped to undo the Revolution and restore the Old Regime.
In contrast, some Parisian workers and small shopkeepers wanted the Revolution
to bring even greater changes to France. They were called sans-culottes
Shortly after, the French troops defending Paris were sent to reinforce the French army in the field. Many nobles, priests, and royalist sympathizers fell victim to the angry mobs in these September Massacres. Under pressure from radicals in the streets and among its members, the Legislative Assembly set aside the Constitution of 1791. It declared the king deposed, dissolved the assembly,
and called for the election of a new legislature. This new governing body, the National Convention, took office on September 21. It quickly abolished the monarchy and declared France a republic.
Melone, Giusti, Pico, Rohm, Rossi G.
In 1789, noblemen made speeches declarin their love for liberty, motivated by the idealim they joined the National Assembly in sweeping away the feuda privileges, making commoners equal to nobles and the clergy
The Rights of Men
The National Assembly adopted a statement of revolutionary ideas, The Declarations of the Rights of Men and of the Citizen. The document stated that "men are born and remain free and equal in rights". This rights included "liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression. Women were not included into these rights.
A State Controlled the Church
Many of the National Assembly reforms focused on the Church. The assemly took over Church lands and declared that Church officials and priests were to be elected and paid as state officers. Many peasants opposed to this because thet thought the pope should rule over the Church and that it must be a independent state.
Louis tries to escape
As the National Assembly restructures the relationship between church and state, Louis XVI lost power as a monach. In 1791 The royal family tried to escape. However the people discovered them and they had to return to Paris. This increased the enemies for the government.
The Terror Grips France
In the early months of 1793, one Jacobin leader, Maximilien Robespierre and his supporters set out to build a “republic of virtue” by wiping out every trace of France’s past. They changed the calendar eleminating Sundays because the radicals considered religion old-fashioned and dangerous. They even closed all churches in Paris, and cities and towns all over France soon did the same. In July 1793, Robespierre became leader of the Committee of Public Safety. For the next year, Robespierre governed France virtually as a dictator, and the period of his rule became known as the Reign of Terror. Robespierre justified his use of terror by suggesting that it enabled French citizens to remain true to the ideals of the Revolution. The “enemies of the Revolution” who troubled Robespierre the most were fellow radicals who challenged his leadership. In 1793 and 1794, many of those who had led the Revolution received death sentences. Their only crime was that they were considered less radical than Robespierre. By early 1794, even Georges Danton found himself in danger. On the scaffold, he told the executioner, “Don’t forget to show my head to the people. It’s well worth seeing.” The Terror claimed not only the famous, such as Danton and Marie Antoinette, the widowed queen. Thousands of unknown people also were sent to their deaths, often on the flimsiest of charges. About 85 percent were peasants or members of the urban poor or middle class— for whose benefit the Revolution had been launched.
Most of the people involved in the governmental changes in September 1792 were members of a radical political organization, the Jacobin Club. One of the most prominent Jacobins, as club members were called, was Jean-Paul Marat . The National Convention had reduced Louis XVI’s role from that of a king to
that of a common citizen and prisoner. Now, guided by radical Jacobins, it tried Louis for treason. The Convention found him guilty, and, by a very close vote, sentenced him to death. On January 21, 1793, the former king walked with calm dignity
up the steps of the scaffold to be beheaded by a machine called the guillotine
At about the time the Convention took office,
the French army won a stunning victory against the Austrians and Prussians at the
Battle of Valmy. Early in 1793, however, Great Britain, Holland, and Spain joined
Prussia and Austria against France. Forced to contend with so many enemies, the
French suffered a string of defeats. To reinforce the French army, Jacobin leaders
in the Convention took an extreme step.
By the summer of 1792, Prussian forces were advancing on Paris. The Prussian commander threatened to destroy Paris if the revolutionaries harmed any member of the royal family. This enraged the Parisians. On August 10, about 20,000 men and women invaded the Tuileries, the palace where the royal family was staying. The mob massacred the royal guards and imprisoned Louis, Marie Antoinette, and their children