The terror is often depicted as the most violent period of the French Revolution, and maybe of the French history. The terror is a regime set up by Robespierre and the Committee of public safety in the aftermath of the fall of the Girondins on the 2nd of June 1793. The committee of public safety was very powerful, and could give orders to the National Assembly and to the different ministries. It was created in April 1793 in order to “provide more effective action and greater coordination between executive and legislative branches of the government”. Indeed, between September 1793 and the fall of Robespierre, the Committee has been the government of France, since it had a say on most important decisions. Moreover, the power of the committee stemmed from the popularity of its members; Robespierre was the symbol of the French Revolution and of the fight against the Ancien Régime. He was backed by Saint Just, a young and ambitious man whose influence had been growing and growing over the period. Other members were also very popular, such as Couthon, Hérault de Séchelles and Lazare Carnot.
[...] The Terror is not only a Parisian phenomenon, since the Convention sent deputies in France to re-establish the order and to implement the regulations of the Convention. For example, Collot d'Herbois and Fouché were sent to Lyon to re-establish the order. Indeed, Lyon had been subject to a revolt of Girondins and moderates, and the leader of the Jacobin club, Charlier, had been toppled, arrested and executed. After the fall Charlier, Lyon became a rebel and a public enemy. Once the army sent by the Committee of Public Safety had defeated the “conspirators”, Fouché and Collot d'Herbois were sent to punish the “enemies of the patry”. [...]
[...] The Committee also issued a decree on May 7th 1794, stating that French people recognized the existence of the Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul”. In other words, the Committee imposed his rules on religious matters. The terror tried to impose a new man, which led some historians to say that the French terror has been the fist example of totalitarianism. The Terror is characterised by the pervasiveness of the committee of public safety: indeed, the committee intervened on economics, social, religious and military matters. [...]
[...] Many historians say that the Girondins were opposed to the terror and to the institutions of the terror such as the watch committee. For example, Leroux, a judge, was arrested by the watch committee of Paris. But the Girondins chastised this arrest because they stated that watch committees were not entitled to arrest people. The argument of the Girondins convinced the convention, and the judge was freed. But owing to the historian Ladan Boroumand, the main point of contention between the Girondins and the Jacobins laid in the fact that they did not share the same conception of freedom and of the social contract. [...]
[...] Saint Just and Le Bas were sent to Strasbourg in order to organize the city and the Region of Alsace which was subject to the influence of partisans of Austria, Prussia and Condé. Saint Just's mission was to organize the army against the enemy, since the lack of experience of the soldier was a major problem for the revolutionaries. Saint Just also implemented in Alsace the law of maximum. Some of the measures he took have been very radical: on the 31st of October, he ordered the city of Strasbourg to supply 5000 pairs of shoes and jackets for the army, while 193 inhabitants of Strasbourg were forced to lend 9 millions pounds to the committee of public safety. [...]
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