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The french revolution, part 2


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18th and 19th Century Europe

18th and 19th Century Europe

Published in: Education, News & Politics

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  • 1. The French Revolution, Part 2: 1793-99
  • 2. Introduction • By 1793, the French Revolution had entered a “radical” phase which sought to preserve the gains of the “moderate” phase while eliminating any counter-revolutionary opposition through a Reign of Terror. • By 1795, this “radical” phase caused a backlash known as the “reaction,” which attempted to restore order to France.
  • 3. The Monarchy Abolished • After the executions of the King and Queen, the Jacobins tried to wipe out all traces of the old order. • They wrote a new, more radical constitution, which abolished monarchy, seized nobles’ lands, & outlawed titles of nobility The Heads of Louis & Marie, from Madame Tussaud’s wax museum
  • 4. The Committee of Public Safety • By early 1793, France was at war with most of Europe, & civil war between Jacobins & Girondins was likely. • To deal with the threats, the Jacobin- led National Convention created the 12-member Committee of Public Safety, with absolute power to “preach the hatred of kings & the unity of the Republic.”
  • 5. Maximilien Robespierre • Lawyer/politician who led the Committee of Public Safety • Believed in Rousseau’s idea of “social contract” needing to be enforced by the will of the people • Popular with the sans- culottes & other radicals
  • 6. Robespierre Leads Reign of Terror • One of the chief architects of the “Reign of Terror,” which lasted from July 1793 to July 1794 • “Liberty cannot be secured unless criminals lose their heads.” • Any “enemy” of the Revolution was tried, sentenced, & executed. • About 40,000 died during Terror; over 70% were 3rd Estate!!
  • 7. • “If the spring of popular government in time of peace is virtue, the springs of popular government in revolution are at once virtue and terror: virtue, without which terror is fatal; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country’s most urgent needs.” • – Robespierre’s speech to National Convention Feb., 5 1794
  • 8. The Instrument of Terror • The guillotine had been popularized by a member of the National Assembly named Joseph Guillotin as a “more humane” method of execution than the ax. • Quickly became the ultimate symbol of terror instead of humanity
  • 9. “Show my head to the people. It is worth seeing. - Georges Danton
  • 10. “La Mort de Marat” – Jacques-Louis David
  • 11. Cultural Changes • Metric System • Greet everyone with term “citizen” • Completely secularize calendar • 12 months – 10 day weeks – 10 hour days – 100 minutes in an hour • Today is Quartidi, 4 Fructidor 221 (it’s the day of puffballs)
  • 12. The Death of Robespierre • Members of the Convention, fearing for their own lives, arrested Robespierre on July 27, 1794. • He was executed the next day; thereafter, the executions slowed dramatically.
  • 13. The Head of Robespierre • After the Reign of Terror, the French people were tired of the violence and the radical elements of the Revolution, and they were ready for a more normal existence.
  • 14. The Reaction to the Terror • In 1795, the Revolution entered a new phase, called the “Thermidorian Reaction” • Moderates produced the third French Constitution, which set up a 5-man Directory & a 2-house legislature elected by property- owning males. • The Directory was weak but dictatorial and failed to solve the problems created by the Revolution. • In 1797, supporters of constitutional monarchy took a majority of seats in the Legislature