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 Reign of terror 
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Noble
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Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 2:42 am
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Post Reign of terror
Reign of terror-

How many people died?

What was the cuase?

How long was it?

What are some facts about it ?

- these are just some of the questions i have on this horrific event during the french revolution,, can you guys help me answer them?

merci :)

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Thu May 29, 2008 2:14 am
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Prince/Princesse
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Post Re: Reign of terror
How many people died?
Between 18 000 and 40 000 people were executed during the reign of terror.

What was the cause?
Revolutionary courts that had the authority to find a person guilty for the betrayal and the crime against the revolution. Only the suspicion was enough to find the person guilty and soon they didn’t have any right to defence. Because that some courts were able to send under the guillotine up to 60 persons a day. Only in Paris, during three summer months, on the Concord square, 1.376 people were executed.

How long was it?
Reign of terror is connected to Jacobins government which started on 31. 05. 1793 and ended on 27. 06. 1794 with the fall of Robespierre.

What are some facts about it?
Many laws adopted in order to make all citizens equal were abolished during the Reign of Terror and after the fall of Robespierre. Christian calendar was also abolished (10. 10.1793) and replaced with the new revolutionary calendar.


I hope that I helped you.
Please ask if you are interested in anything else. :D

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If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. St. Francis of Assisi


Thu May 29, 2008 5:32 pm
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Post Re: Reign of terror
Hey I am learning about this in school! lol I know everything about the french Revolution! :mrgreen: :geek:


Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:06 am
Duc/Duchesse
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Post Re: Reign of terror
Ahh, yes. I apologize for the long reply, but I wanted to thoroughly answer your questions.

How many died?

The statistic is between 16,000 and 40,000, but by the time you’re talking 40,000 you’re not talking people who were officially executed, but those who died in prison or who died in some way other than official execution (died fighting in the rebellious provinces, died in prison, etc). However, the Terror was not the same in all areas. (There’s an excellent little map in R. R. Palmer’s “Twelve Who Ruled” that shows this). The areas in France with the highest number of executions were Paris, the Vendée, and the areas around Lyon, Marseille, Toulon, Bordeaux, and Arras, cities that rebelled against the government. Other departments with medium numbers of executions were often those along the borders where the armies were. In the other parts of France there were few people executed and there were even one or two departments with no recorded executions.

Overall though, it’s impossible to know how many people died exactly. Here is this: The total number of people executed in Paris during the Terror was 2,586. The number of people executed in Lyon after it fell was around 2,000. Certainly more died in the Vendée. Lyon was considered a massacre though, and it was cited as the worst example, so I don’t think you can assume much more from the other rebellious cities. In the book “The Incidence of the Terror” by Donald Greer, he went through and counted all the official executions during the Terror and he came up with a number around 16,500 for all of France. I’m sure more people died in unrecorded circumstances, but the question is how many, and what exactly you’re counting. (Died in prison? Died in battle in the civil wars? In that case, do you count the people who died on the Republican side? Particularly in the Vendée, the line between executions, battles, and massacres could be fuzzy on both sides). I’ve asked other people interested in the Revolution and one person said that she had read that the 40,000 statistic is based on a projected calculation rather than actually counting executions, but I can’t cite that directly. 16,500 seems a bit small, while 40,000 seems inflated (extremely so if you’re only talking about executions). I would say maybe around 17,000-18,000 executed, with an unknown number dying in prison and other unrecorded deaths. Sorry I can’t give you an exact statistic, but history is difficult like that.

What was the cause?

Long story. By the summer of 1793, France was at war with basically every country in Europe and was losing, as well as facing uprisings in most of its major cities. The economy had collapsed. Speculation and war-profiteering were rampant. The government was essentially paralyzed due to factional in-fighting between the Mountain and the Girondins. After the expulsion of the Girondins from the Convention (which sparked a lot of the regional uprisings, though the Vendée had already been going strong for a few months), the factional issues were briefly resolved except for the fact that the Mountain had relied upon the sans-culottes to oust the Girondins from the Convention and they had done so with the support of the Paris Commune. The Paris Commune was controlled by the Hébertist faction, who were pressing for economic controls and harsh action against “aristocrats” and “speculators.” On September 5, a mob of sans-culottes, supported by the Commune and some Hébertist deputies, stormed the Convention demanding action against the “enemies of the Republic.” Fearing another coup and attempting to appease the mob, the Convention passed some laws that would become the basis for the Terror. These laws were solidified on September 17 as The Law of Suspects. The key point of the Law of Suspects was that you could be arrested for being *suspected* of treason, rather than there actually being proof against you. The Terror was not simply the Law of Suspects though. Over time, it developed as a specific economic, political and military program as well, directed by the Committee of Public Safety.

For most of the winter of 1793 and the spring of 1794 the Terror was mostly directed in the provinces against the rebellious areas of the country. From September 17, 1793 to April 16, 1794, 550 people were executed in Paris, compared to 2,036 people executed between April 17 and July 27, 1794. This includes the three big executions of the Girondin, Hébertist and Dantonist factions. The period known as the “Great Terror” was the months of May, June and July, 1794. The law that defined this period was the Law of 22 Prairial (June 10), which requires some explanation. It closed all the provincial tribunals and required that prisoners from all over France be tried in Paris. In this respect, it was a strike against the representatives on mission who had abused their powers in the provinces (the extreme repression of the rebellious cities). However, once you had this huge influx of prisoners coming into Paris, you end up with stuffed prisons and too many prisoners for the courts to deal with properly. So the Law of Prairial also stripped the accused’s right to a defense, the court only had to look at the offense the person was accused with to declare their guilt or innocence, and the penalty was simplified to innocent or death. Time-saving measures, but also a reaction to previous trials (such as the Dantonist trial), when the government became truly afraid of the ways words could be used to manipulate public opinion (so better to silence everyone). During this point even some of the most die-hard revolutionaries were privately questioning the Terror (such as Saint-Just), but no one knew how to stop it (and there were certainly also those who did not want to).

How long was it?

The general dates for the Terror are from September 17, 1793 (The Law of Suspects) to July 28, 1794 (The 10th of Thermidor, the fall of the Robespierrists). However, it is worth noting that the men who overthrew Robespierre had no intention of stopping the Terror (and generally had hands far bloodied than his, as they were mostly the men who had perpetrated the massacres in the provinces and they felt that if they didn’t overthrow Robespierre they would be executed for them). The Terror continued for a little bit after Robespierre’s death, but the power in the Convention was swinging back to the right. The men who overthrew Robespierre lost their support or quickly became moderates themselves and the Terror came to an end. However, there was also a period known as the “White Terror” during this time of conservative reaction (known as the Thermidorian Reaction). The White Terror was an unofficial campaign against former Jacobins and radicals. The guillotine was not used, but the government turned a blind eye while Jacobins were beaten in the street, lynched, or arrested (and there was even the occasional prison massacre during this time too). This violence lasted into mid-1795, so it wasn’t until after then that the violence really came to an end.

Anything else?

This post is too long already, I'm afraid! If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer.


Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:54 pm
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Comte/Comtesse
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Post Re: Reign of terror
How dreadful!!!! :? :angel6:


Sat Oct 11, 2008 3:32 pm
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