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A Revolution Devours its Citizens. Political Parties. Upon the creation of the National Assembly, two political parties (groups) were established in the National Assembly – The Girondists and the Jacobins. Both parties were moderates, bourgeoisie and well educated groups.

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political parties
Political Parties

Upon the creation of the National Assembly, two political parties (groups) were established in the National Assembly –The Girondists and the Jacobins.

Both parties were moderates, bourgeoisie and well educated groups.

They published pamphlets and held regular meetings to discuss how to make progressive changes in France.

political parties1
Political Parties

The Girondistsended up staying as a moderate party and suggested that a constitutional monarchy would suffice for change in France.

The Jacobins were a little more radical and suggested that France should move towards and permanently stay as a Republic.

As the National Assembly created a Republic in France, there was no way the Jacobins were willing to be persuaded to change the direction of France.

the sans culottes
The Sans-Culottes

The Sans – Culottes were mostly poor people from Paris and smaller cities.

They hated the bourgeoisie and the were against anything that helped benefit the business class.

They wanted a national government that would control the prices of food (like bread) and other services to help ensure everyone had the ability to pay for basic needs.

the sans culottes1
The Sans – Culottes

They Sans – Culottes were INCREDIBLY violent. They formed mobs and roamed Paris, attacking anything or anybody suspected of being against the revolution.

They were led by a fiery writer by the name of Jean-Paul Marat.

NOTE: In the 1930’s Hitler and his Nazi party had a very similar group called the “brown shirts”. The Brown Shirts would run around major cities in Germany, beating up and killing anyone who was against the Nazi party and anyone who was Jewish.

marat danton and robespierre
Marat, Danton and Robespierre




Jean – Paul Marat, Jacques Danton and Maximilien Robespierre became the leaders of the Jacobins and take control of the National assembly in 1792.

Marat was in control of the San – Culottes. Danton was a second in command within the Jacobins Political Party and Robespierre became the leader of the Jacobins Political Party.

marat danton and robespierre1
Marat, Danton and Robespierre

They opposed any deal with the Monarchy and constantly were calling for the head of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

They were also set on destroying anyone who seemed to have any sympathy for the old system (a system with the Monarchs)


Robespierre was born in May of May 1758.

He was the son of a lawyer and thus was part of the bourgeoisie while growing up.

He ended up becoming a lawyer as well.

He was an excellent speaker, a great orator, and people loved him and followed him as if he was a true leader.

In April 1790 he was elected as the leader of the Jacobins


Under the command of Robespierre, the Jacobins stared to use the Sans – Culottes to beat up their political opponents(the Girondists).

Robespierre would arrest Girondists for being supporters of the monarchy and against the revolution.

He would have them tossed in jail and imprisoned for the time being.

He started to quickly become a dominate force in politics and a powerful leader and... a dictator.

marat murdered in bathtub
Marat Murdered in Bathtub

In 1793 Marat was murdered by Charlotte Corday, a Giondists, in Marat’s bathtub.

Because of all the aggressive behaviours of the Jacobins, mostly of Marat and his Sans – Culottes, she decided to take it into her own hands and stabbed him in his bath tub.

danton and robespierre
Danton and Robespierre

After the death of Marat, Danton and Robespierre became much more aggressive on the streets and in the National Assembly.

They started to, via the use of fear and great passionate political speeches, persuade people to support the Jacobins cause.

They were also able to increase their support by drawing people to their ideals, ideals that a lot of French people agreed to, needed or wanted.

In very short order Robespierre was eventually able to get enough support in the National Assembly to win all the votes and pass any law.

king louis xvi and antoinette executed
King Louis XVI and Antoinette executed

After Danton and Robespierre had taken control and had a majority of support in the National Assembly, they decided to have a trial for Louis XVI and Antoinette for their crimes of treason - neglecting the people of France.

In January 1793, Louis XVI and Antoinette were found guilty and executed.

Robespierre now had absolute control of France and ruled France like a dictator.

He also used the Guillotine and within moments of their heads being cut off, Robespierre found a new love affair with the Guillotine.

the reign of terror
The Reign of Terror

After the killing of King Louis XVI Robespierre started to arrest all the Girondists– even those that were quiet and not to much trouble – and put them in prison.

1793 – 1794 became known as the Reign of Terror. During this timeframe the Jacobins had extraordinary powers.

the reign of terror1
The Reign of Terror

They passed laws to intimidate or eliminate anyone who disagreed with the Jacobins.

Robespierre passed “The Law of Suspects,” where he gave the Sans – Culottes the power to arrest anyone of noble family or who held office before the revolution.

Robespierre would take all these people he arrested, including the Girondists, executed.

Any business person who were suspected of manipulating the price of foods were arrested and executed.

If you questioned Robespierre or the Jacobins, you were arrested and executed.

the reign of terror2
The Reign of Terror

Danton, Robespierre’s second in command, had said privately to Robespierre that he and the Jacobins were going to far.

Robespierre had Danton arrested and executed.

Even a few leaders of the Sans – Culottes, people Robespierre suspected of challenging his authority (rightfully or wrongfully), were imprisoned and executed.

With the death of Danton, and members of the Sans – Culottes, very few people would challenge Robespierre.

the reign of terror3
The Reign of Terror

It was estimated that in the one year alone Robespierre had executed 37,000 people via the guillotine.

the fall of robespierre
The Fall of Robespierre

Under the leadership of Robespierre France started to modernize.

The metric system was introduced, the army was made more effective and efficient, and new schools and universities were set up to educate all of the population.

As France grew stronger, and more educated, people started to fear the dictatorship of Robespierre, and as such Robespierre was becoming unpopular.

the fall of robespierre1
The Fall of Robespierre

French military planed to undermine Robespierre and created a justification that such ruthlessness by Robespierre was not needed.

Thus, a conspiracy was formed to overthrow Robespierre.

When the military made way to arrest Robespierre, Robespierre and his closest friends went to hide in a house on the outskirts of town.

The house became surrounded by military personnel.

the fall of robespierre2
The Fall of Robespierre

Robespierre, knew he was done. Military officers entered the house to arrest Robespierre.

Robespierre had a pistol to his head and was about to shoot himself – rather this than face the public courts andthe guillotine.

But one of the officers jumped at him, moved the gun and BANG!!!!

The gun went off and the bullet went through Robespierre’s jaw.

the fall of robespierre3
The Fall of Robespierre

Robespierre, on the ground gets up, and is arrested with half his jaw blown off and hanging onto his face via the left side of his jaw.

He was thrown in jail, and was to be prosecuted the next day.

He was found guilty for all the crimes he committed against the nation.

That day he was executed with 21 of his closest supporters via the guillotine.

new government
New Government

Robespierre was once adamantly opposed to the death penalty and the guillotine.

Instead, once in power, he used it more times then the combined times of King Louis V and King Louis XVI.

The Jacobins were immediately replaced with a third and new political party called the Thermidoreans and they were anxious to bring about peace to the revolution.

n e w government
New Government

The Thermidoreans were mostly business class and middle class people.

With the Thermidoreans in power, they gave new power to people of property, which signalled the return to special privileges for people who have money.

Gone are the days of equality for all, the title “citizen” was removed and all advances by the poor were swept away.

The new government would soon be swept away by….