Radicals and the reign of terrorPresentation Transcript
RADICALS AND THE REIGN OF TERROR
Divisions in the Legislative Assembly
Despite having a new government many problems still existed. People were still hungry, and many wanted more liberty and equality. The government still had a huge debt. The members of the Legislative Assembly didn’t all agree on how to solve these problems.
The Legislative Assembly was divided into three groups. They were as follows:
Sat on the left side of the hall. They were said to be “left wing” because of this.
Opposed the king and the idea of monarchy.
Wanted sweeping changes in government, and proposed that common people have full power in a republic.
Sat in the center of the hall and were called centrists.
Wanted some changes in government, but not as many as the radicals.
Sat on the right side of the hall. Were called right wing and said to be on the right.
Upheld the idea of a limited monarchy.
Wanted few changes in government.
Divisions in France
The Legislative Assembly wasn’t the only place where divisions occurred. Not all the French citizens felt the same way about the revolution.
One of the most conservative groups was the Emigres . They were nobles who left France during the peasant uprisings and were on the extreme right. They wanted things to go back to the way they were.
One of the most radical groups was the sans – culottes . They were shop owners and other workers who wanted more of a say in the government. They wanted lower food prices to end the shortages. They didn’t have a role in the Legislative Assembly so they had to find another way to express themselves . . .
Execution of the King
The limited monarchy wasn’t working out as well as planned. People were still suffering from the same problems. Radical movements came about saying that France should become a republic and Louis should be executed.
The National Convention met in September 1792 and decided to abolish the monarchy and declare France a republic. Louis was considered no more than a common citizen and a prisoner.
A radical group tried Louis was treason. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by the guillotine.
The guillotine was invented in 1792 by the French as a quicker way to behead people. Prior to this some of the techniques for public execution were:
Being broken on a wheel
Being pulled apart by horses
Many French opposed the guillotine because they felt the death was too quick for the audience to enjoy.
During this time many leaders of radical groups were struggling for power. Maximilien Robespierre was able to gather to most power.
Robespierre and his supporters wanted to wipe out every last trace of the old France. He wanted to build a “republic of virtue.”
Republic of Virtue
Robespierre’s goal was to wipe out every trace of the monarchy that there may be.
If your family’s last name as Leroy (meaning the king), it would be in your best interest to change your name
Robespierre even wanted all decks of cards to be changed so there would be no king and queen.
Many of the biggest supporters of the revolution (and the most radical) were also big supporters of the enlightenment and reason.
They changed the calendar to be more scientific. They divided it into 12 months with 30 days in each month and renamed each month.
The new calendar didn’t have a Sunday because radicals considered religion old fashioned and dangerous.
They closed all churches. Some of the churches they refashioned into temples of reason.
How do you think these changes went over?
Committee of Public Safety
In the summer of 1793 Robespierre became head of the Committee of Public Safety.
As head of the committee his job was to decide who were dangerous enemies of the republic.
The committee would often put people on trial in the morning and by afternoon they would be guillotined.
From July 1793 – July 1794 Robespierre was head of the committee and ruled over France like a dictator this time period was known as the Reign of Terror (this is where the term terrorism comes from). He explained his mass executions by saying it allowed France to be true to the ideals of the revolution.
End of Terror
After a while Robespierre decided many of the enemies of the republic were in fact people who challenged him for power.
In October 1793 revolutionary courts sentenced many leaders who helped set up the republic to death.
Everyone was terrified of Robespierre and who he would turn on next.
The National Convention decided to turn on Robespierre to save themselves. The most radical phase of the revolution ended on July 28, 1794 when Robespierre lost his head.
Approximately 3000 people were executed.
Some historians think that as many as 40,000 were killed as a result of the revolution. The majority of them were peasants, people whom the revolution was supposed to be helping the most.
After Robespierre’s death people were tired of the revolution and terror and just wanted things to settle down.
They were also still dealing with high prices of food. One of the things the revolution promised to fix.
In 1795 moderate leaders of the National Convention met and wrote the third constitution since 1789.
The new constitution placed power firmly in the hands of the upper middle class and called for a two house legislature and an executive body made up of five men known as the directory .
They were corrupt, but they did provide some stability to France.
They also appointed a new general to command France’s army . . .