ROBESPIERRE : THE TERROR
We are not a Christian nation
“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!”
Beware of slogans. There is no substitute for thought. The French Revolution was bogus! The Nazi Revolution was bogus. The Communist Revolution in Russia was bogus. Under different slogans and under different names the collectivist movements and – ideologies were the instruments of satisfying the power lusts of particular despotic personalities –Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro and many more.
History records one true revolution – The American Revolution.
The French Revolution was not the template for future republics. The guillotine and the bloodlust of the god state set the pattern for Nazi Germany and the Communist Soviet Union.
Unlike the American Revolution, the French Revolution became a self-devouring beast destroying its own children. Hunger, bread riots, unemployment, economic dislocation, urban poor, rural poor, inflation, debt because of participation in the American Revolution, and disillusionment exploded into the frenzy called the French Revolution. In the midst of this chaos, a small town lawyer moves up the ranks of the radical Jacobin Party to become its leader, strategist, spokesman and the icon of the French Revolution, Maximiliean Robespierre, “the Incorruptible.” (DiConsiglio 2,008)
French historian Pierre Louis predicted:
“History will say little about this monster. It will confine itself to the words: At this time, the internal debasement of France was such a bloodthirsty charlatan, without talent, and without courage, called Robespierre made all the citizens tremble under his tyranny.” (DiConsiglio 2,008)
Robespierre introduced the word “exterminate” (DiConsiglio 2,008) in dealing with any opposition. Such were the words of Hitler and his henchman dehumanizing Jews in a manner making them vulnerable to annihilation, or members of one tribe describing the members of the victim tribe as “cockroaches”.
Robespierre and the Jacobins waged a militant campaign to dechristianize France. Robespierre formed his own Cult of the Supreme Being., and attended its feasts. . The Jacobins hated Catholicism and extended their malice to all forms of Christianity. Priests and nuns were banished from France, coerced to marry, or killed. Deism, the cult of Reason and atheism were part of the effort to dechristianize (Wikipedia n.d.)France.
On January 2, 1793, the king was beheaded.
On April 1, 1793, the revolutionaries formed The Committee of Public Safety and chose George Jacques Danton as its first President. Danton and Robespierre became friends. The Girondists soon met the fate of those who challenged the purity of totalitarian state and many were rounded up and executed.
. On June 10, 1794 [22 Prairal] the Committee enacted the Law of Suspects (The Law of the Reign of Terror (le loi del Grande Terreur) and granted the Revolutionary Tribunal the power to impose the death penalty for treason and all offenses. ‘’The penalty provided for all offenses under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Tribunal mandated death”. even for minor offenses, considered misdemeanors today.
Victims of the Reign of Terror totaled somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000. According to one estimate, among those condemned by the revolutionary tribunals, about 8 percent were aristocrats, 6 percent clergy, 14 percent middle class, and 70 percent were workers or peasants accused of hoarding, evading the draft, desertion, rebellion, and other purported crimes. (Wikipedia n.d.) Of these social groupings, the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church suffered proportionately the greatest loss.  (Wikipedia n.d.)
As the numbers of beheaded increased, Danton expressed his discomfort to Robespierre that there might be innocent people being killed in the Terror. Robespierre did not take kindly to that concern. Stalin was not the first paranoid serial killer dictator. Soon Danton found himself before a Revolutionary Tribunal, which (not surprisingly) found the fore ordained verdict-guilty of treason and the Tribunal exacted the mandated penalty, death.
“This time 12 months ago, I proposed this infamous
Tribunal by which we die and for which I beg pardon.” (DiConsiglio 2,008)
See the movie “Danton”.  (Danton n.d.)
The French Revolution was a preview of the modern police state and not rule of the people, by the people and for the people. Murder is rationalized by propaganda and homicide is industrialized..
The bulk of the Revolutionary Army was made up of the sans culottes, that is the radical lower classes, laborers, and what might be referred to as the proletariat. The 1935 movie “A Tale of Two Cities” (Colman 1935) captures the cruelties of the revolutionaries exacting their vengeance and reprisals for real and imagined wrongs.
At the suggestion of the mother superior, Teresa of St. Augustine, the Carmelites of Compiegne prayed to sacrifice their lives for the restoration of peace in France. Two years later the abbess visited Paris, the city of fear, where ideology wreaked its havoc of blood. Rather than seeking refuge in Switzerland, she returned to her convent in Compiegne. The revolutionaries were waiting, arrested her and fifteen other Carmelites. The sisters were taken to a prison in Paris, put on trial, and found guilty of planning to overthrow the government.
One composed a hymn of petition and praise to the tune of the Marseilles’. On July 17, 1794 the sixteen Carmelites in their brown and white habits which they had carefully washed and prepared the day before, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, are carted, with a drummer beating a repetitive tattoo walking in front, are taken to the public square where the makeshift platform is waiting.
Each approaches the Mother Superior, kneels briefly, recites her vows; then stands and asks “Mother may I have your permission to die this day?.” As their eyes meet, the Mother Superior nods her head.
The Mother Superior watches the nuns form their last procession line, as if for chapel, for their last liturgy, the youngest first, the Superior last. She watches Sister Constance, the novice, approach the steps to the platform, and then the she begins chanting Veni Creator Spiritus. The others join in. Time stops. Their soft voices carry far into the eerie stillness of the crowd. Mother Teresa of St. Augustine standing erect watches two of her elderly charges helped up the steps to the platform. She watches them all. She is the last to climb the steps and hears their voices come to silence, one at a time, until her own voice comes to silence too.
And then, there was only silence.
THE SILENCE OF GOD
Eleven days later on July 28, 1874 in his frock coat, Robespierre with a facial gunshot wound (probably self-inflicted) approaches the guillotine in terror.
The death of Robespierre by guillotine ends his life that day and hence The Reign of Terror ends that day.
The Reign of Terror is deemed the period of September 5, 1793 to 28 July 28, 1794.
The twentieth century saw the rise of too many “Robespierres”. America is not immune from the totalitarian temptation.
 (DocuTV – The French Revolution 2013)
 (DiConsiglio 2,008)
 (DiConsiglio 2,008, 80)
 (Wikipedia n.d.)
 (The Law of Suspects 1793)
 (Wikipedia n.d.)
 (Wikipedia n.d.)
 (DiConsiglio 2,008, 108)
 (Danton n.d.) (Despardieu 1983)
 (Colman 1935)
 (Catholic Truths 2009)
Catholic Truths. Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne. Edited by Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne. February 18, 2009. http://www.catholic-truths.com/truth/?p=138 (accessed September 5, 2013).
A TALE OF TWO CITIES. Directed by Jack Conway. Performed by Ronald Colman. 1935.
Danton. Directed by Andrzej Wajda, Jacek Gasiorowski and Boselaw Michalek Agnieszka Holland. Performed by Gerard and Wojcieck Pyzniak Despardieu. 1983.
DiConsiglio, John. Robesepierre Master of the Guillotine. New York London: Franklin Watts an Imprint of scholastic Inc , 2,008.
DocuTV – The French Revolution. The French Revolution [Documentary] [History Channel]. DocuTV – The French Revolution. March 5, 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUrEJBsWLfA (accessed August 21, 2013).
The Law of Suspects. s 1793.
Wikipedia. Dechristianisation of France during the French Revolution. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dechristianisation_of_France_during_the_French_Revolution (accessed September 4, 2013).
Ronald J. Buttarazzi Sr., JD is a retired Rochester attorney and a former Assistant Attorney General of New York.