· Government by Terror came into being because of the need to organize the republic against internal and external threats to its survival (such as the fact the war with Austro-Prussia was going badly and civil war).
· Political crisis: In order to fight the war against the internal and external enemies the support of the people was necessary. Differences between the Montagnards, Girondins, the Plain and Jacobins (Robespierre and Marat).
· Rising in the Vendee and the economic crisis accentuated this problem.
Establishment of the Jacobins/ purge of Girondins, Assembly voting to centralize power in the hands of the Jacobin led CPS:
· April 1793- Girondins went on offensive against Montagnards- called for Marat to be impeached, successful in getting him to trial but was acquitted (pleased sans-culottes) consequence = 8,000 demonstrators (sans culottes supporters of Marat) surrounded National Convention. They demand price controls on bread. The Montagnards moved from opposing to supporting price controls and the next day a law setting a maximum for bread and grain was passed.
· 2nd June 1793: 100,000 National Guards surrounded National Convention demanding arrest of 29 Girondin deputies. Matter was put to vote and it was voted to have the Girondins arrested.
· Result – the National Convention continued to rule, with power in the hands of the Montagnards. Price they paid – dependent on sans-culottes and had to accept use of armed force against an elected assembly.
· Danton and other Montagnards had asked Girondins to stop attacking Parisian sans-culottes.
· Robespierre asked sans-culottes to uprise against the corrupt Girondin deputies.
Machinery of Terror:
· Convention passed range of measures early 1973 (10th March- 20th May):
o To identify, place under observation and punish suspects.
o To make government more effective and ensure its orders carried out.
o To meet some of the economic demands of the sans-culottes.
· CGS (Committee of General Safety): Task of rooting out anti-republican opposition.
o 10th March 1793- Revolutionary tribunal set up in Paris to try counter-revolutionary suspects. Intended to prevent massacres like September 1792.
o Representatives on mission: Mainly Jacobin deputies from convention who were sent to reassert government authority – reasserted central control over provinces.
o Comites de surveillance: Surveillance committees. Provided many victims for the Revolutionary Tribunal.