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The French Revolution: Virtue or Terrorism?

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  1. The context in which Robespierre and Saint Just created their ideology
  2. The logic of the Terror, between the French revolution and other theoretical materials
  3. State terrorism through the prism of the French Revolution

"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity". A great motto, thoughts important enough to live and even to die for. These were the most enduring thoughts on which the French Revolution was based on. Yet, in order to implement these principles, the French revolutionaries sent more than 40,000 citizens to the guillotine. The French Revolution is the very first example of the use of pure State violence, independent of any explicit religious connotations. This historical episode opens a new era in the history of terrorism, insofar as the revolutionaries used violence consciously. René Girard observed that ancient forms of sacrifice and ritualized violence are always linked to a religious redemption. But historically, the state came to replace religion and to set up an order that supersedes religion. Social techniques were invented to domesticate violent forces, to transform destructive urges into productive tendencies. From this point of view, the Enlightenments was trying to establish the basis of a new kind of society, where social tensions would be reduced to a minimum.

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