The Reign Of Terror Essay

922 words - 4 pages

Torture, fear, executions, horror, political and social changes…. these are just a few terms that come to mind when people think of the Reign of Terror. France was in the middle of a political and social revolution and wanted all citizens against this movement to be destroyed. Drastic measures such as mass killings and legal actions were taken to rid the country of these enemies, thus beginning the Reign of Terror. There were many reasons as to why this time period occurred. Over the course of one year, several events influenced the people of France prior to, during, and following the Reign of Terror.
The Reign of Terror began in July of 1793. (Beers, pg. 41). The revolutionary government, The National Convention, sought to destroy all citizens against the revolution. In order to accomplish this feat, they created the Committee of Public Safety. The leader of this organization was Maximilien Robespierre. Robespierre and his committee wanted to protect citizens from foreign and domestic threats to the revolution. (Beers, pg. 41). The main threat to the French Revolution was the citizens of France that were against the revolution. (Tripod.com, The French Revolution, 2014) The National Convention feared these counterrevolutionaries would revolt and crush the revolution. As a result, the National Convention and the Committee of Public Safety decided all people found as being against the revolution should be put to death in order to allow the revolution to prosper. (Beers, pg. 41). This started the Reign of Terror.
Once the Reign of Terror began, mass killings and trial sessions began to take place. Very simple laws were in place to determine when people could be arrested. Anyone could be arrested for “their conduct, their relations, their remarks, or their writings. (Beers, pg.41).” These laws allowed courts to condemn citizens with little evidence against them. (Beers, pg.41). Once citizens were found guilty of being counterrevolutionaries, they were sent to death. The most common way to kill citizens was by execution using the guillotine. The guilty citizens were thrown in jail for the night and had their hair cut so it would not interfere with the blades of the guillotine. The next day, the citizens were thrown in carts and paraded through the streets to the town square. Here they were killed in front of everyone. After the execution had taken place, the heads of the victims were raised on sticks and paraded through the city streets as a warning to other citizens. (The French Revolution, 2014) It is estimated that between 20 000 and 40 000 men, women, children, and nobles were killed this way during the Reign of Terror. (Beers, pg. 41). Robespierre ordered the executions of two close friends who were popular government officials. (The Fall of...

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