Free Role of Violence and Terror in French Revolution Essay Sample
The French Revolution of 1789 to 1799, as put forward by Mason (225), was characterized with the reign of Terror and violence between 1793 and 1794 that led to mass execution of French citizens. Inflation, food shortages, civil war and military defeat marked the start of the crisis of the revolution in September 5, 1793 (Mason, 225). This raised concern and the demonstrators (Jacobins and the members of the Paris Commune) marched to the convention and demanded that it adopt decrees to address popular concerns. This was the start of Violence and Terror which played the following roles:
It led to formation of strong security force in the country. The citizens went to the city hall to fight for their wish which was to seek for “Subsistence and the force of law to obtain it”, as asserted by Chaumaette, the city prosecutor. This also states led to a motion that resulted to the making of Laws on suspects. Danton’s motions of forming a revolutionary army and that one hundred million will be placed at the disposition of the minister of war for the manufacture of arms and it will not cease until the nation has given a riffle to each citizen was passed. Also several motions put forward by different persons like; organizing of an accountable and true police force in Paris, arrest of suspects (Basire), the repeal of counter revolutionary measure which forbids public functionaries, under penalty of death, to make domiciliary visits and arrests at night (Billaud-Varenne) were passed. This brought about the end of the enemies of the people who are those who seek to destroy public liberty, either by force or by artifice. These included refractory priests, émigrés and speculators, Mason (230).
Mason (232) says that it also led to the abolishment of the Society of Revolutionary Republic Women. The members of the Society threatened the profits and the persons of the women of the Paris markets. They (the members of the Society) used violence and threats to force other women to dress in a costume which was respected by women but they believed it was intended for men. In response to this, in some occasions crowds used violence towards the self – proclaimed Revolutionary Women. Other women also seek the intervention of the committee of National Convention on solving this problem. In accordance to the investigations made by the committee of the National Convention, the self – proclaimed Revolutionary Women were led astray by an excess of patriotism and others only by malevolence.
The committee had to understand the nature of women particularly pertaining to their political rights and meddle in affairs of government and if they can meet in political associations. They had to understand their primary functions other than household cares and if the honesty of women can allow them to display themselves in public and to struggle against men. Man was believed to be all-round, strong, born with strong energy, audacity and courage. He was fit for agriculture, commerce, navigation, voyages and war. He alone was equipped for profound and serious thinking which calls for great intellectual effort and long studies. In rendering their services to their fatherland, women could do it by enlightening their husbands, communicating precious reflections and work to fortify their love of country by means of everything. Charlier argued out that women are human species and the rights which are common to every thinking being cannot be taken away from them. It came out from Bazire that the only question that matters in this case is whether women’s society is dangerous and from past experience it had was deadly to the public peace. In October 30, 1793, after hearing the report of its committee, the National Convention decreed on prohibiting all clubs and popular societies of women.
Thirdly, Mason (236) puts across that it also led to restoring of regular legal and civil procedure. In January 23, 1794, Georges-Jacques Danton argued that the France government and the revolutionary committee became tyrannical and attacked the efforts of the popular radical Herbert to intensify the Terror. Danton, at this time, was concerned with the sort of distinction and privileges accorded to Desmoulins’s father in law because it raised the question of whether the committee of the General Security is not so overburdened that it can hardly find time to occupy it self with individual claims. This was not just because if it was to accord privilege, it should be to those citizens who do not have resources of wealth or acquaintance with members of the convention and the needy must be aided first.
The committee was created to fight federalism and there was need to wary of the two shores upon which they could wreck themselves. If too much justice was done, they might give themselves over to moderation and arm their enemies. He concluded by asking the convention to consider the means that will allow them to do justice to all the victims of arbitrary measures and arrest without impairing the activity of the revolutionary government. He said that the convention only succeeded because it was of the people, it will remain for the people and it will ceaselessly seek out and abide by public opinion and its this opinion that should determine all the laws that the convention proclaim.
Lastly, it led to controlled economy in France, Mason (238). In his writing to the citizens of France on behalf of the Committee of the Public Safety, Bertrand Barere argues that the law of the Maximum was a trap set for the Convention by the Republic’s enemies. The law had been improvised by malevolent and crime and was improved by citizens patriotism and enlightenment. He says that even if it was not enough to vanquish the armies of kings, to destroy tyranny, to strike down the aristocracy, to divide riches and to demolish great fortunes, it was still necessary to make popular laws, improve the condition of every citizen, augment agriculture, democrat commerce and honor work of its citizen.
Palmer (2005) says that the causes of the greatest commotion in the republicans were due to the sudden and disproportionate variation in the cost and availability of life’s basic needs and necessities. The tyrants had pacified people by distributing store houses of grain and silver, the ministers had fomented revolutions with ringleaders on the basis of needs created them selves and these gave room to the methods of despotism to stem from the fake shortages. He pledged to the government to be closer to nature, to let useless and expensive festivals to disappear, to let aristocratic parasites to cease consuming a month’s worth of food in a day and to stop the rich from insulting the people by covering their tables with superfluous dishes and a spread which serves only vanity or intemperance.
He went further and urged the public to fast for liberty, to practice thrift for a while and to voluntarily impose a civic frugality to sustain their rights. In his comparison, the republican system of commerce was more necessary and more suitable than the monarchical system. The monarchical system aspired only to reaches, it had no need of virtue but the republican system prefers its country to all others, it had moderate profits and virtues and had no any other solid foundation (Andress, 2006). Thus, the commission for subsistence and provisions had worked for stimulating industry, reproaching the manufacturer of consumer goods and moderating the usury and profits of the businessman and the man of industry and they were presenting it to the public. The commission had set laws to protect the; consumer from buying merchandise which has passed through miserly hands, people from buying things which has waited in the shops for most advantageous moments to be sold and chased out bankers who situated themselves between man and divinity.
In conclusion, Violence and Terror in French Revolution fought for the rights of its citizens. Security, stable economy that assured the citizens of getting basic needs and justice were the core issues that were solve during the time of Terror.