4. Why did violence explode in August and September 1792? (why did the revolution become more violent?)

  • Created by: Lauren
  • Created on: 28-05-13 20:28

War and the build-up of tension August 1791 – May 1792:

·         August 1791- Austria and Prussia issued the Pillnitz Declaration- threatened military intervention in support of Louis. Although they did nothing, threat and presence of émigré troops made revolutionaries even more suspicious of the royal family’s attitudes and increased their fear of counter-revolution and invasion.

·         December- at urging of National Assembly deputies, Louis publically demanded the elector of Trier (small state on Rhine where émigrés based) disperse their troops at Coblenz, yet at the same time Louis secretly asked Elector not to do this.

·         Different views on desirability of war against Austria. For war:

o   Louis, believing he would benefit. If war went well he might recover his powers. If war went badly, the Austrian victors would restore his old powers.

o   Generals, Lafayette and Dumouriez, also believed short, successful war would strengthen authority of King and increase their own prestige and influence.

o   Republican Brissot and other Girondins for very different reason. Believed war would force Louis to reveal his true position, for or against the Revolution and would bring other traitors into the open. Claimed counter-revolutionaries (Austrian Committee) were plotting around Marie-Antoinette. Brissot also wanted to spread Revolution beyond France, believing people of other nations would overthrow their rulers.

·         Against war:

o   Robespierre, believed generals like Lafayette threatened revolution and had ambitions of their own. Also argued people of other countries wouldn’t rise up and fight alongside the French invaders.

o   Feuillants believed peace gave better chance of preserving gains of Revolution, which for them had gone far enough. Their influence destroyed when Louis replaced them as ministers with Brissot and his Girondins.

·         20th April 1792: War began with Austria.  Hoped for successful war never happened.

·         In Paris, Girondins blamed generals, King and Austrian Committee of betraying France to turn blame away from themselves.

·         Defeat had heightened likelihood of violence. In atmosphere of near panic, Legislative Assembly passed series of measures (May- June):

o   All foreigners placed under surveillance.

o   Refractory priests to be deported. Louis vetoed but did agree to his bodyguard of 1800 men to be disbanded.

o   All regular troops in and around Paris sent to front so they couldn’t be used in royalist military take-over. To replace them it was planned to set up camp of federes (provincial National Guard) just outside Paris. Louis vetoed but they arrived in Paris anyway for annual 14th July Parade.

·         Louis changed minister again, dismissing Girondins who had criticised him and replaced them with Feuillants.

·         Lafayette denounced Girondins and visited Paris to try to persuade National Guard to support King and close Jacobin club. Returned disappointed, having only fuelled fears of counter-revolution.

Sans-culotte power – invasion of Tuileries, June 1792:

·         By 1792 the 48 Sections of Paris were becoming centres of militancy dominated by the Sans-Culottes. Each


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