Why did the Terror emerge in 1793?

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  • Created by: Lauren
  • Created on: 28-05-13 20:30


·         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.



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