robespierre and the committee for public safetyPosted on October 8th, 2020
Attempting to regain his hold on public opinion, Robespierre reappeared at the Committee of Public Safety on 5 Thermidor (July 23) and then, on 8 Thermidor (July 26), at the National Convention, to which he turned as his judge.
As a wartime measure, the Committee was given broad supervisory powers over military, judicial, and legislative efforts.
The Committee of Public Safety and the Reign of Terror, Heritage History - Biography of Robespierre, Alpha History - Biography of Maximilien Fran�ois, Age of the Sage - Transmitting the Wisdoms of the Ages - Biography of Maximilien Robespierre, Maximilien de Robespierre - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up).
Later he went to the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), where he could, doubtless, still have continued the struggle, for armed contingents from some of the sections of the city had been summoned by the Paris Commune and were awaiting his orders. , On 5 April 1793, the French military commander and former minister of war General Charles François Dumouriez defected to Austria following the publication of an incendiary letter in which he threatened to march his army on the city of Paris if the National Convention did not accede to his leadership. The role of the Committee of Public Safety included the governance of the war (including the appointment of generals), the appointing of judges and juries for the Revolutionary Tribunal, the provisioning of the armies and the public, the maintenance of public order and oversight of the state bureaucracy. Following a decisive military victory over Austria at the Battle of Fleurus, Robespierre was overthrown on July 27, 1794.  Danton steered the Committee through the 31 May and 2 June 1793 journées that saw the violent expulsion of the Girondins and through the intensifying war in the Vendée. Unremitting work and frequent speeches in the Legislative Assembly and at the Jacobin Club (a total of some 450 since the beginning of the session) had undermined Robespierre’s health, and he became irritable and distant. In December 1793, the convention formally conferred executive power upon the committee.
In 1793 the Committee of Public Safety replaced many generals, reorganized headquarters and carried out military operations in secret.
The power of the committee peaked between August 1793 and July 1794, during which it gained dictatorial powers and organised the Reign of Terror. But he objected to pointless executions, protecting those deputies who had protested the arrest of the Girondins and of the king’s sister.
On 27 July 1794, Robespierre, Saint-Just and Couthon (Mountain) were arrested and executed the following day. Isnard was supported in this effort by Georges Danton, who declared: "This Committee is precisely what we want, a hand to grasp the weapon of the Revolutionary Tribunal".
Henceforward his actions were to be inseparable from those of the government as a whole.
He studied law through a scholarship and in 1789 was elected to be a representative of the Arras commoners in the Estates General. The National Constituent Assembly had its own police committee called the Comité des Recherches (‘Search Committee’). As a wartime measure, the committee was given broad supervisory powers over the armed forces, judiciary and legislature. A widespread belief held that revolutionary France was in immediate peril, threatened not only by foreign a… Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Robespierre answered the demonstrators on September 5 by promising maximum prices for all foodstuffs and a Revolutionary militia for use in the interior against counterrevolutionaries and grain hoarders. During the May 1958 crisis in France, an army junta under General Jacques Massu seized power in Algiers on the night of 13 May 1958 and General Salan assumed leadership of a body calling itself the Committee of Public Safety. The movement was driven chiefly by a growing fear of Robespierre. After the killing of the rival factions of Hébertists and Dantonists, sentiments in the convention eventually turned on Robespierre, who was killed in July 1794. The punishment for all crimes under the Law of 22 Prairal was death. The sans-culottes, exasperated by the inadequacies of the government, invaded the Convention and overthrew the Girondins.
 Arguments within the Committee of Public Safety itself had grown so violent that it relocated its meetings to a more private room to preserve the illusion of agreement. He was guillotined on July 28. New members were appointed the day after Robespierre’s execution and term limits were imposed.
It served to further highlight the convention’s fear of enemies of the Revolution. The year of Jacobin rule was the first time in history that terror became an official government policy, with the stated aim to use violence to achieve a higher political goal.
That he remained extremely popular is shown by the public ovations he received after Henri Admirat’s unsuccessful attempt on his life on 3 Prairial (May 22).
The foundation of the Terror was the April 1793 creation of the Committee of Public Safety. News of his defection caused alarm in Paris, where imminent defeat by the Austrians and their allies was feared. Members of the Committee of General Security resented the autocratic behavior of the Committee of Public Safety and particularly the encroachment of the General Police Bureau upon their own brief. In July 1793, following the defeat at the Convention of the Girondists, the prominent leaders of the radical Jacobins—Maximilien Robespierre and Saint-Just —were added to the Committee.
Robespierre’s enemies credited him with dictatorial power, both in the Jacobin Club and in the Committee of Public Safety, a power that he did not have. On July 27, 1793, Robespierre took his place on the Committee of Public Safety, which had first been set up in April. He opposed the dechristianization of France during the French Revolution.  Barère, Vadier and Stanislas Fréron joined the accusations against Saint-Just and Robespierre.
However, Desmoulins quickly turned his pen against the Committee of Public Safety and the Committee of General Security, comparing their reign to that of the Roman tyrants chronicled by Tacitus and expounding the indulgent views of the Dantonist faction. Under the Legislative Assembly, it was re-formed as the Comités de Surveil… Maximilien Robespierre at the guillotine, July 28, 1794.
In his diary, Robespierre noted that what was needed was “une volonté une” (“one single will”), and this dictatorial power was to characterize the Revolutionary government. The arrest of Maximilien Robespierre, July 27, 1794. It was ratified by public referendum but never put into force.
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The arrest of Robespierre, his brother Augustin and Saint-Just was ordered, along with that of their supporters, Philippe Le Bas and Georges Couthon. The Jacobins were meticulous in maintaining a legal structure for the Terror, so clear records exist for official death sentences. Robespierre came to power on the back of street violence. When the Committee was recomposed on 10 July 1793, Danton was not included. In all, 108 people died for adherence to Robespierre’s cause. He was a man of his times, of the Enlightenment, a patriot, a man with a sense of duty and of sacrifice, whose influence remains considerable. Moreover, Robespierre's increasingly extensive absences from the Committee due to illness (he all but ceased to attend meetings in June 1794) created the impression that he was isolated and out of touch. The Committee of Public Safety was by no means the first powerful committee of the French Revolution. Saint-Just, Couthon and Maximilien and Augustin Robespierre were arrested and guillotined on 28 July 1794. The period of the Jacobin rule known as the Reign of Terror, under the leadership of Maximilien Robespierre, was the first time in history that terror became an official government policy with the stated aim … The power of the Committee peaked between August 1793 and July 1794 under the leadership of Robespierre.
A period of intense civil unrest ensued, during which the members of the Committees of Public Safety and General Security were forced to seek refuge in the Convention.
The climax of extreme anti-clericalism was reached with the celebration of the goddess Reason in Notre Dame Cathedral in November. After the law of 22 Prairial (June 10) reorganizing the Revolutionary Tribunal, which had been formed in March 1793 to condemn all enemies of the regime, opposition to Robespierre grew; it was led by those représentants en mission whom he had threatened. In June 1794, Robespierre, who favored deism over atheism and had previously condemned the Cult of Reason, recommended that the convention acknowledge the existence of his god. This led to the consolidation, extension, and application of emergency government devices to maintain what the Revolution considered control.
But, following the appearance of working-class movements in the 19th century, both in France and abroad, homage was paid to this “persecuted patriot,” and his most famous speeches were reprinted. Threatened from within by the movement for federalism and by the civil war in the Vendée in the northwest and threatened at the frontiers by the anti-French coalition, the Revolution mobilized its resources for victory. His social ideal consisted in reducing extreme inequalities of wealth, in increasing the number of small property owners, and in ensuring work and education for all. While some of his colleagues were away on missions and others were preoccupied with special assignments, he strove to prevent division among the revolutionaries by relying on the Jacobin societies and the vigilance committees.  Dumouriez's defection lent greater credence to this belief. Portrait of Maximilien de Robespierre (1758-1794) by an unknown artist. The Law of 22 Prairial, proposed by the Committee of Public Safety and enacted on 10 June 1794, went further in establishing the iron control of the Revolutionary Tribunal and above it the Committees of Public Safety and General Security. Although the Girondins and the Jacobins were both on the extreme left and shared many of the same radical republican convictions, the Jacobins were more brutally efficient in setting up a war government.
Hérault de Séchelles, a friend and ally of Danton, was expelled from the Committee of Public Safety, arrested and tried alongside them.
On 5 April 1794, the Dantonists went to the guillotine.. In June 1793, Paris sections took over the Convention, calling for administrative and political purges, a low fixed price for bread, and a limitation of the electoral franchise to sans-culottes alone.
Reappearing at the Jacobin Club after a month’s illness, Robespierre denounced the radical revolutionist Jacques-René Hébert and his adherents, who together with some foreign agents were executed in March.
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