Was the Reign of Terror Justified?

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The reign of terror was a 10 month period of the massacres of the people of France. Anyone who was suspected of going against the revolutionary government, taken over by radicals, was either imprisoned or sentenced to the guillotine. What led up to the terror was with the revolutionary government being in a crisis in 1973. The crisis was due to the French Revolution beginning four years earlier with the Storming of the Bastille. Foreign countries attacked France from all sides with civil wars breaking out into different regions. During the time of the reign of terror, France was ruled by a group of men called the Committee of Public Safety. The leader who led this group was a man named Robespierre. The Committee of Public Safety introduced several new laws, one of which was called the “Law of Suspects.” This law meant that anyone who was suspected even a slight bit was an enemy of the revolution and was arrested.

The court, Revolutionary Tribunal, could only be able to determine two verdicts: Innocent or was to be executed. Throughout the next year people had to be very careful of what they did, who they talked to, and what they had to say. A slight bit of opposition and it could mean prison or death. At time revolutionaries even accused people who they didn’t like just to get rid of them. As the execution and terror became worse, people started to revolt against the group and Robespierre. The people of France and enemies of Robespierre made a plan to overthrow him. On July 27, 1794 he was removed from power and was executed the next day.

The Reign of Terror lasted from 1793 to 1794 with 17,000 people being officially executed in France. Many more died in prison or were beaten to death on the streets with over 200,000 people being arrested.

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