December 15, 2019

p.p1 government of all of France, and it was

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During September of 1792 in Paris, France, the September massacres raged on. Parisian mobs gained a lot of power and influence in Paris due to these attacks. People in France feared an anti-revolutionary uprise or invasion, and killed any who were believed to be anti revolutionary in Parisian prisons, because of the fact that those in the prisons were assumed to dislike the new government, as they were why the bulk of the prisoners remained in jail. Therefore, there was fear that foreign and royalist armies would attack Paris, and the inmates of the city’s prisons would be freed and join them. Radicals called for preemptive action, especially journalist Jean-Paul Marat, who called for prisoners to be killed before they could be freed. The action was taken on by mobs of National Guardsmen and some fédérés (Tackett, Timothy). This shows that the people of France, particularly Paris, supported their new government, and so they were willing to resort to violence in order to protect the new government and what it stood for. The Parisian government supported this and went as far as to urge other cities to follow in these ideas and take preemptive action against prisoners. “The actions taken by the Parisian mob were tolerated by the city government, the Paris Commune, which called on other cities to follow suit” (Tackett, Timothy). The Paris Commune would have supported this action because it protected them and the government of all of France, and it was a show of strength of the country’s people, possibly discouraging any type of uprising or outside invasion. The massacres and the tolerance showed by the government also displays the freedom that the masses were now granted, a luxury they were not given under the ancient regime and its absolute rulers.  The most targeted people were actually the clergy, and “by September 6, half of the prison population of Paris had been executed-1200 to 1400 prisoners. Of them, 233 were non-juring Catholic priests who refused to submit to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy” (Tackett, Timothy). This shows that the Parisian mobs, and generally the masses of France, understood how much power the Church could hold, and that clergy that were incarcerated for not submitting to the new government would most likely be disdainful towards it, being the most likely to participate in an uprising, and a Church-led overthrow of the government would be detrimental to the rights of the people, as had been observed during the medieval period. It can be said that the September massacres accomplished nothing except creating violence and fear within an already volatile country, however, this event showed that the masses of France were satisfied with the change in the country, and were willing to, by any means possible, protect their government and their rights, and they were listened to, supported, and aided by the government for the first time, even though it was through violence and greatly motivated by fear. 
As part of the new government of France, Maximilien Robespierre rose to great power and was highly respected, creating a government that the people believed that they could trust. Robespierre ordered the reign of terror, executing and impriosning all believed anti-revolutionaries, in order to consolidate the power and demonstrate the strength and resilience that the new government had; Robespierre had many murdered over the course of the reign of terror for simple, mostly unfounded, accusations of being anti-revolutionaries. There were 16,594 official death sentences in France, however there would have been more deaths due to the harsh, overcrowded prison conditions (Lefebvre, Georges et al.). This shows that Robespierre was determined to keep the new government in France, and prevent an attack on France, attempting to prevent rebellion or war, while also consolidating his own power, and he was not afraid to attain these goals through being a harsh, relentless leader. Robespierre wanted change within the government, and wanted it to happen consistently in order to prevent stagnation in the government and displeasure within the people of France. Robespierre accomplished this through  altering the way that the government worked, and these shifts also upheld the promises of democracy and helped to ensure that the people’s voices were being heard. “Robespierre proposed and carried the motion that no deputy who sat in the Constituent Assembly could sit in the succeeding Assembly. This self-denying ordinance, designed to demonstrate the disinterested patriotism of the framers of the new constitution, had the effect of accelerating political change” (Scurr, Ruth). This shows that Robespierre prioritized the modernization of France and the rights and opinions of his people, even if he had had mass numbers of people executed and imprisoned, because he did it in order to keep France a strong, stable country, and in attempts to bring France out of the volatile state it had been in. Due to the measures he took to reform and improve the french government, Robespierre was greatly respected within France at the time. This was in part because of the fact that Robespierre was a capable articulator of the beliefs of the left-wing bourgeoisie. “His steadfast adherence and defence of the views he expressed earned him the nickname l’Incorruptible (The Incorruptible)” (Thompson, J.M). This shows that, unlike past leaders, Robespierre was not influenced by those around him, as the kings had been with the nobles, and because his views aligned with the bourgeois, Robespierre won the respect and favour of the masses, as he shared their opinions and views on what needed to happen within the country. Some may say that Robespierre only called for the reign of terror in order to consolidate his control over France, create an atmosphere of fear of him, and all of this caused him to be respected due to fear of his power, however, it is far more likely that at the time, Robespierre was trying not to consolidate his own power, but rather to protect the new government, which was still extremely unstable and volatile because of how rapidly the country was being changed at its core, its government. Further proving this, and his reputation, was that when the Constituent Assembly was dissolved, the people of Paris named Pétion and Robespierre the two incorruptible patriots. This was an attempt to honour their purity of principles, modest ways of living, and their refusal to take bribes (Thompson, J.M); This further proves that Robespierre was held in extremely high respect in France, being named a patriot. This is extremely similar to another strong leader that was, at the time, held in high respect of his people- Napoleon Bonaparte. 

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