Posted by: Dr Churchill | March 29, 2018

The Parallel Lives of Condorset and Robespierre in the times of Revolution & Terror, that by the Grace of God — we are not living through in these United States of America…

HERE IS THE BACKGROUND:

DURING THE FRENCH REVOLUTION’S OVERHEATED YEARS and specifically in the year 1789, when the Estates-General was called by Louis XVI, only a small fraction of the delegates selected were members of the French Democratic party, the Jacobins…

However, by 1793 the most radical Jacobins had established a virtual One party, dictatorship.

Burt let us see, how did this political minority experience such a meteoric rise?

How did Revolutionary France transform from a constitutional monarchy into a Democratic party dictatorship?

The downfall of the revolutionary republic cannot be explained by any one factor. The execution of Louis XVI, war, political factionalism, and revolutionary fervor can all be attributed to the political gains of the Jacobin club. It is telling that within the National Assembly the extreme wing of the Jacobins would become known as the Montagnard, or the Mountain.

The Girondins were the dominant political faction within the Jacobin club until 1793, when their relative moderation and support for foreign wars led to their increasing unpopularity.

The end of the constitutional monarchy was critical to the rise of the Jacobins; the monarchy fell largely due to the Varennes flight. On the 20-21st of June 1791 King Louis XVI and his family attempted to flee France to the Austrian Netherlands. With the King’s flight and eventual arrest, debate ensued on whether or not France should remain a constitutional monarchy.

When public papers began printing the king’s declaration explaining his flight (where he denounced many revolutionary decrees) hundreds of political clubs began to be created across France; over 400 houses were affiliated with the Jacobin club. By mid July of that year popular opinion was decisively against the monarch, with only 1 in 6 provinces showing any sympathy towards the King. This is in stark contrast to the previous public opinion immediately after the king’s capture: citizens had been more inclined to believe that the King was ill-advised or kidnapped.

In the late summer of 1792, one year after the flight to Varennes, France was declared a republic and Louis was officially arrested and stripped of all his titles. Before the Flight, the large majority of French citizens believed in the monarchy; this was true even among those who supported the Revolution. After Louis tried to flee France, the people came to believe that their king no longer cared for them. Louis XVI was stripped of his regal nomen and became known as Louis Capet; whether or not he should be put on trial was yet to be determined.

The Jacobins within the National Convention were divided into three factions. The Mountain formed the radical left and was made of Jacobins and Cordeliers; these were the more radical deputies. Also at the convention was the more moderate (but still radical) Girondins. Everyone else was in the Plain (La Plaine). In the Plain were deputies unaffiliated with either the Mountain or the Girondins. In the month after the King’s capture the Convention was polled on their opinions on the former Kings status. According to author Reilly Benjamin, 133 of the 749 members of the Conventions published trial opinions with, 51% of those opinions using radical arguments.

In the Convention, the Girondins dominated after the fall of the monarchy. The Girondins were led by Jacques-Pierre Brissot, a journalist and writer from Chartres. The American revolutionary Thomas Paine was an influential member. The Girondins took inspiration from American federalism and had among its ranks land-owners, business owners and sympathetic members of the petty nobility. This constituency was reflected in the group’s general moderation compared to other members of the Jacobin Club. Like the Mountain the Girondins supported the abolition of slavery, but differed sharply in the thoughts on foreign wars. Brissot encouraged an aggressive foreign policy meant on spreading French Revolutionary values abroad in Europe; Robespierre and the Mountain disagreed vehemently.

When the King went to trial both the Girondins and the Montagnard took the stage to make their argument. The Girondins wanted to make an “appeal to the people” using this as a sort of a rallying cry to popular sovereignty. The Montagnards accused the Girondins of being traitors and that this so-called appeal would drag the trial out for months and possibly save the guilty king’s life. They also argued that since a large portion of people in the countryside were illiterate, they wouldn’t be well informed enough to make a responsible decision on the trial.

The King’s flight is the decisive point when the French revolution became radicalized. There was no repairing the damage done to his reputation. He was no longer a father figure to French citizens; he had become a traitor to the French nation.

Jacobins like Saint Just (“No-one can reign innocently”–Saint Just) and Robespierre, were lobbying for the execution of Louis XVI. As the King was not previously subject the rule of law, in their view, he could not be counted as a citizen deserving of a fair trial. Therefore, they reasoned, Louis must be executed. Although the Jacobins were a minority in the Convention, their extreme views were disproportionately influential.

The end of the monarchy encouraged the development of factionalism in the Convention. Political alliances such as the one between the Cordeliers and the Jacobin club were significant to the balance of power within the Convention. We also see reactionary politics between the Jacobins and their rivals the Girondins. The Girondins supported war against Austria and Prussia, but also discouraged popular violence within France. They were also against the execution of the King. As many as 200 deputies were affiliated to the Girondins club.

The sans-culottes were a class of Parisians within the 3rd estate. They were not part of the bourgeoisie even though they were better off than peasants. These street-people became some of the most vociferous protesters of the regime. Because of their willingness to engage in violence (like in the September massacres) they held to ability to sway opinion within the national assembly. In the early part of the revolution the Girondins were popular with the sans-culottes. But after the flight of the king the Girondists quickly lost their support.

The Paris Commune, formed at the inception of the Revolution in 1789,was a government separate from the National Assembly, and remained separate from its successor, the Convention .The Commune was dominated by the Jacobin club. Of the 24 deputies from Paris in the National convention, 21 were with the Mountain faction. As the trial took place in Paris, the Girondins believed that the radical views of the commune influenced by the opinion of Paris rather than the opinion of the nation.

After the King’s execution in 1793, the War of the First Coalition raged in the east, inflaming political tensions in Paris. Austria, Prussia, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, the Netherlands, Naples, and other Italian states united against revolutionary France. The Girondins were a pro-war faction, who believed war against foreign enemies would unite the revolution. They promised spreading the revolution would unite all peoples from their aristocratic oppressors. The Jacobins were staunchly against these foreign wars, as they believed it could be used as a launching-pad for military dictatorship. France suffered setbacks in 1792 with defeats and soldiers deserting the army. This greatly damaged the Girondin’s hawkish cause.

After the execution of Louis XVI the Girondins were denounced as pro-royalist and federalist from radicals in the convention. Pressure from Paris and the National Guard forced the National Convention to expel the Girondins. This left the Montagnard as the sole faction within the National Convention. Within the first half of 1793 the Committee of General Security, Revolutionary Tribunal, and Committee of Public safety were put in place. These institutions implemented widespread terror against French citizens who were deemed anti-revolutionaries.

The Jacobins were successful because they fed off the passions of the people in the Paris Commune. They did not condemn the horrors of the 1792 September massacres, but had encouraged them. The Jacobins moved quickly to implement violence while the Girondins were dragging their feet on these decisions. The mass conscriptions used for fighting the foreign conflicts did not help the Girondist popularity.

“The new government was called revolutionary because it was not ‘constituted’ in the manner demanded by contemporary ideas of law.” –R.R. Palmer, The “Twelve Men” who ruled France, from an outsider’s point of view had allowed the State to fall into complete anarchy. French citizens were angry, particularly in rural areas, as the chaos that was the revolution was asking everything from them but giving little. The stability that came with the monarchy was gone and priests were being killed and taxes were being raised. Yet that was their plan for the “spending” of the terrible passions of the people that led to “Robespierre’s Terror” and for cooling the “French Fever,” both actions that led eventually to the liberal Republican Girordin triumph that came to supplant the collapse of the Montagnards and Robespierre, who was their patron God of Terror…

Yet, history comes in stages, and so on July 13th 1793, the radical writer Jean-Paul Marat was assassinated by Charlotte Corday in his bath. In the eyes of the Jacobinian Montagnards, Jean-paul Marat, became a martyr killed by the royalist Corday. His death increased the political influence of the Jacobins. The painting The Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David is an example of his martyred image. It is similar to the Pieta of Michelangelo, which depicts a dead Christ in his mother’s arms.

By mid-to-late 1793, the Jacobins dominated the National Convention. Victories against the enemies of France emboldened Robespierre, President of France, who further implemented terror as a national policy. In September of 1793 the Law of Suspects was passed which allowed the creation of the Revolutionary Tribunal and the Judgement of former civil servants and former nobles. By passing this law, the revolutionary government was allowed to bring those who were suspected of treason. Many were executed as suspected loyalists or counter-revolutionaries.

Robespierre was known as “The incorruptible” and anyone who was seen as corrupt or unpatriotic could be sent to the guillotine. France had been turned turn into a Salem State where people made false accusations based on no evidence. Secret police listened for counter revolutionary activity in the streets, pubs, and villages of France.

The Trial and Execution of Danton would be the ultimate undoing of the Jacobins. Danton was accused of corruption. Danton, his Girondist compatriots and the many Cordeliers were sent to the guillotine for execution. These execution were widely un-popular and they led to Robespierre being accused of tyranny. Danton’s execution was an important event leading to the Thermidor Reaction, the coup against Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety.

While the Jacobins did not set out to create a dictatorship, their ideals of universal male suffrage and popular education were overshadowed by the Terror and anti-democratic policies of their most radical members. Their violent vision for radical politics have forever stained the legacy of the French Revolution.

Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis of Condorcet known as Nicolas de Condorcet, was a French philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist whose “Condorcet-method” in voting tally selects the candidate who would beat each of the other candidates in a run-off election.

Unlike many of his … contemporaries, Condorset refined the mathematical model for Crowd Wisdom in the midst of the French civil war between Monarchists, Democrats, and proto-Communists, where the Communists won…

These Proto-Communists were the Jacobins, and their extreme wing, the Montagnards. Under their President Robespierre, these wild men, operating under the guise of Democracy, sought to exterminate their truly democratic opponents, the political group of moderate Republicans within the French Revolution.

The internecine conflict within the Revolutionaries, pitted the Jacobins to clash with the Girordins with disastrous result for thew later. Because of this enmity and the fervent prosecutions and the killings of it’s children — the French Revolution’s madness and the TERROR they produced all contributed to bring the real revolution to a swift end. The Girordins, were so called, because their central members were deputies of the Gironde district and were easily rounded up, and swiftly assassinated by their arch-enemies, the Montagnards.

Unfortunately it was during that terrible time for Democracy, when Nicolas De Condorset became a “wanted man” and was “killed” by these seemingly most rabid supporters of Jacobin revolution — the Montagnards of the Democratic fraction that had gone terribly wrong and sought to round up Condorset along with the other Girordin leaders in order to guillotine them.

Much like Hillary Clinton ordered Julian Assange to be “droned” because he exposed the corruption and the criminality, of the US Democratic party and her electoral campaign during the 2016 United States of America Presidential elections — Robespierre ordered the revolutionary and rather popular Marquis De Condorset, who was loved by the people — to be arrested and executed.

Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis of Condorcet; 17 September 1743 – 28 March 1794, known as Nicolas de Condorcet, was a French philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist whose “Condorcet Theorem” & the attendant “Condorset Method” in forecasting elections, and in voting tallies, selects the candidate who would most definitely beat each of the other candidates, in a run-off election.

With the help of the Condorset Political Science Mathematical Modeling Method — we can see who will be the run-off candidate in the jungle primaries we have in Washington State. Imagine that. By utilizing Condorset’s theorem — we can see that I would be the runoff candidate after winning the “Jungle Primary” and that is why I attracted the wrath and the freakish fear and enmity of the Democratic party’s US Senate candidate Patty Murray — who chose to order my assassination instead of wanting to face me again in elections a few years after her corrupt and dirty campaign tricks sidelined my electoral effort in 2016. Patty is an evil person right up there with Robespierre and Hillary Clinton, only not that smart…

SO here we are.

Condorset’s theorem being utilized by my evil & crooked opponent to disable me from running against her and depriving her of her staying in office for a century or longer, as if this a hereditary position assigned to her by the Teacher’s Union. What a crock of shit. Shame upon you ugly woman — shame upon your reptilian soul. Shame of You, and shame on us, the citizens of Washington State that we have you as a representative in Washington DC, because You and your pedophile nephew the Ex-Mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, both belong in federal jail and not in federal office.

What a sorry person that is. Patty Murray, is an aerobics instructor for little children, and yet through the power of Democratic party Corruption and Electoral fraud — she now sits as the Senator from Washington state in the other Washington DC.

Yet unlike her — myself, much like Condorset — advocate an open mind and an open market, same as he was tooting the virtues of a liberal economy, free and equal public instruction, constitutionalism, and equal rights for women and people of all races.

Indeed, Condorset’s ideas and writings were said to embody the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment and rationalism, and remain influential to this day. As a philosopher — he was beloved by all who had read his writings and heard his arguments.

Yet, he died a mysterious death in prison, after a period of flight from French Revolutionary authorities that sought to arrest him and decapitate him through the services of the swift blade of the Guillotine.

Going back in the jungle of the French Revolution, even at this eleventh hour, Marquis De Condorset, was able to be a true Philosopher, and to support his true Enlightenment ideas, like that of mathematically correct political Science and Democracy, even further, by writing while in hiding — the amazing booklet “On the Progress of Man” and by bolstering his earlier mathematical and political science works about the “Crowd-Wisdom” in which “The wisdom of the Crowds” is the collective opinion of a group of individuals rather than that of any single expert. A wealth of data suggests that averaging the answers of many people, always outperforms any individual expert opinion.

And that is the basic empirical data driven approach through mathematics, that ultimately and fully validates the idea about Democracy, being the best political system for the governance of people, as the ancient Greeks have given us more than two thousand years earlier.

Thus we can safely say today that Marie-Jean, Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis of Condorcet, known colloquially as “Nicolas de Condorcet” was a French philosopher, mathematician, and the earliest mathematical political scientist and data scientist, whose mathematical method of averaging voting tally is today’s simplest and strongest means of Political Scientific persuasion and governance through the rigorous and scientific democratic polling.

Now his book on the Progress of Humanity, was Condorcet’s “Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of Humanity” is his final treatise, illustrating his faith in human reason and in man’s eventual perfectibility. The “Sketch … ” is a tiny book that regardless of size — it is fully illustrating his faith in human reason and man’s eventual perfectibility thought the application of Logical Republican and Scientific Democracy, as the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People, ought to be.

He died during the French Revolution which he describes as the suppression of the liberal spirit, which was widely seen by his opponents at the time, as a necessary step for creating the dictatorship of the proletariat. Or rather as the proto-communists who now wish to distance themselves from, and instead describe it as the “Dictatorship” named the “Terror” of Robespierre.

One of the many sad victims of this Socialistic process called “the Dictatorship of the Proletariat” that was seen by Marx as a necessary interlude for our societies experiencing the Socialist revolution, in order to reach the exalted state of Communist paradise on earth.

Yet it was precisely this state of affairs that took away the life of the Man who was the most important mathematician and social theorist, Nicolas Condorcet who earlier in his life, had devised the mathematical theory underpinning DEMOCRACY.

In the History of Liberty, Condorset, must be defined as a Supreme Republican and a Democratic Libertarian who death defined also the stain of the French Revolution. His extraordinary work as a mathematician and as a political scientist and leading member of the liberal Girondin faction, led to his death, because all the liberal leaders of the Girordins were arrested, persecuted, exiled, and even killed by their Robespierrist Montagnard opponents.

Still, Nicolas De Condorset, while in hiding from Robespierre’s thugs — wrote a wonderful paean to the human possibilities of liberty, enlightenment, and economic growth.

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Condorset’s early years:
Condorcet was born in Ribemont (in present-day Aisne), and descended from the ancient family of Caritat, who took their title from the town of Condorcet in Dauphiné, of which they were long-time residents. Fatherless at a young age, he was raised by his devoutly religious mother. He was educated at the Jesuit College in Reims and at the Collège de Navarre in Paris, where he quickly showed his intellectual ability, and gained his first public distinctions in mathematics. When he was sixteen, his analytical abilities gained the praise of Jean le Rond d’Alembert and Alexis Clairaut; soon, Condorcet would study under d’Alembert.

From 1765 to 1774, he focused on science. In 1765, he published his first work on mathematics entitled Essai sur le calcul intégral, which was well received, launching his career as a mathematician. He would go on to publish more papers, and on 25 February 1769, he was elected to the Académie royale des Sciences (French Royal Academy of Sciences).

Jacques Turgot was Condorcet’s mentor and longtime friend…
In 1772, he published another paper on integral calculus. Soon after, he met Jacques Turgot, a French economist, and the two became friends. Turgot was to be an administrator under King Louis XV in 1772, and became Controller-General of Finance under Louis XVI in 1774.

Condorcet worked with Leonhard Euler and Benjamin Franklin. He soon became an honorary member of many foreign academies and philosophic societies including the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1785), Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1792),[2] and also in Prussia and Russia.

His political ideas, however, many of them in continuity with Turgot’s, were criticized heavily in the English-speaking world, most notably by John Adams, who wrote two of his principal works of political philosophy to oppose Turgot and Condorcet’s unicameral legislature and radical democracy.

Early political career:
In 1774, Condorcet was appointed inspector general of the Paris mint by Turgot. From this point on, Condorcet shifted his focus from the purely mathematical to philosophy and political matters. In the following years, he took up the defense of human rights in general, and of women’s and Blacks’ rights in particular (an abolitionist, he became active in the Society of the Friends of the Blacks in the 1780s). He supported the ideals embodied by the newly formed United States, and proposed projects of political, administrative and economic reforms intended to transform France.

In 1776, Turgot was dismissed as Controller General. Consequently, Condorcet submitted his resignation as Inspector General of the Monnaie, but the request was refused, and he continued serving in this post until 1791. Condorcet later wrote Vie de M. Turgot (1786), a biography which spoke fondly of Turgot and advocated Turgot’s economic theories. Condorcet continued to receive prestigious appointments: in 1777, he became Permanent Secretary of the Académie des Sciences, holding the post until the abolition of the Académie in 1793, and in 1782 secretary of the Académie française.

Condorcet’s Paradox and the Condorcet Method:
In 1785, Condorcet wrote an essay on the application of analysis of the probability of decisions made on a majority vote, one of his most important works. This work described several now famous results, including Condorcet’s jury theorem, which states that if each member of a voting group is more likely than not to make a correct decision, the probability that the highest vote of the group is the correct decision increases as the number of members of the group increases, and Condorcet’s paradox, which shows that majority preferences can become intransitive with three or more options – it is possible for a certain electorate to express a preference for A over B, a preference for B over C, and a preference for C over A, all from the same set of ballots.

The paper also outlines a generic Condorcet method, designed to simulate pair-wise elections between all candidates in an election. He disagreed strongly with the alternative method of aggregating preferences put forth by Jean-Charles de Borda (based on summed rankings of alternatives). Condorcet was one of the first to systematically apply mathematics in the social sciences.

Other works:
In 1781, Condorcet wrote a pamphlet, Reflections on Negro Slavery, in which he denounced slavery. In 1786, Condorcet worked on ideas for the differential and integral calculus, giving a new treatment of infinitesimals – a work which was never printed. In 1789, he published Vie de Voltaire (1789), which agreed with Voltaire in his opposition to the Church. In 1791, Condorcet along with Sophie de Grouchy, Thomas Paine, Etienne Dumont, Jacques-Pierre Brissot, and Achilles Duchastellet published a brief journal titled Le Républicain. Its main goal being the promotion of republicanism and the rejection of establishing a constitutional monarchy. The theme being that any sort of monarchy is a threat to freedom no matter who is leading, which emphasized that liberty is freedom from domination.

In 1795, Condorcet had a book published called Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind. It dealt with theoretical thought on perfecting the human mind and analyzing intellectual history based around social arithmetic. Thomas Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) partly in response to Condorcet’s views on the “perfectibility of society.”

French Revolution Deputy:
Condorcet took a leading role when the French Revolution swept France in 1789, hoping for a rationalist reconstruction of society, and championed many liberal causes. As a result, in 1791 he was elected as a Paris representative in the Legislative Assembly, and then became the secretary of the Assembly.

In April 1792 Condorcet presented a project for the reformation of the education system, aiming to create a hierarchical system, under the authority of experts, who would work as the guardians of the Enlightenment and who, independent of power, would be the guarantors of public liberties. The project was judged to be contrary to the republican and egalitarian virtues, giving the education of the Nation over to an aristocracy of savants. The institution adopted Condorcet’s design for the state education system, and he drafted a proposed Bourbon Constitution for the new France.

He advocated women’s suffrage for the new government, writing an article for Journal de la Société de 1789, and by publishing De l’admission des femmes au droit de cité (“For the Admission to the Rights of Citizenship For Women”) in 1790.

In terms of political party, Condorcet was quite independent, but still counted many friends among the Girondins. However, he distanced himself from them during the National Convention because he disliked their factionalism.

At the Trial of Louis XVI, Condorcet, who opposed the death penalty but still supported the trial itself, spoke out against the execution of the King during the public vote at the Convention – he proposed to send the king to the galleys.

Condorcet was on the Constitution Committee and was the main author of the Girondin constitutional project. The constitution was not put to vote. When the Montagnards gained control of the Convention, they wrote their own, the French Constitution of 1793. Condorcet criticized the new work, and as a result, he was branded a traitor. On 3 October 1793, a warrant was issued for Condorcet’s arrest.

Arrest and death:
Condorcet was symbolically interred in the Panthéon (pictured) in 1989.
The warrant forced Condorcet into hiding. He hid for five (or eight) months in the house of Mme. Vernet, on Rue Servandoni, in Paris. It was there that he wrote Esquisse d’un tableau historique des progrès de l’esprit humain (Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Spirit), which was published posthumously in 1795 and is considered one of the major texts of the Enlightenment and of historical thought. It narrates the history of civilization as one of progress in the sciences, shows the intimate connection between scientific progress and the development of human rights and justice, and outlines the features of a future rational society entirely shaped by scientific knowledge.

On 25 March 1794 Condorcet, convinced he was no longer safe, left his hideout and attempted to flee Paris. He went to seek refuge at the house of Jean-Baptiste Suard, a friend of his whom he resided with in 1772. But they refused him on the basis that one of their current residents would betray his presence. Two days later he was arrested in Clamart and imprisoned in Bourg-la-Reine (or, as it was known during the Revolution, Bourg-l’Égalité, “Equality Borough” rather than “Queen’s Borough”). Two days after that, he was found dead in his cell. The most widely accepted theory is that his friend, Pierre Jean George Cabanis, gave him a poison which he eventually used. However, some historians believe that he may have been murdered (perhaps because he was too loved and respected to be executed). Jean-Pierre Brancourt (in his work L’élite, la mort et la révolution) claims that Condorcet was killed with a mixture of Datura stramonium and opium.

Condorcet was symbolically interred in the Panthéon in 1989, in honor of the bicentennial of the French Revolution and Condorcet’s role as a central figure in the Enlightenment. However his coffin was empty. Interred in the common cemetery of Bourg-la-Reine, his remains were lost during the nineteenth century.

Family:
In 1786 Condorcet married Sophie de Grouchy, who was more than twenty years his junior. His wife, reckoned one of the most beautiful women of the day, became an accomplished salon hostess as Madame de Condorcet, and also an accomplished translator of Thomas Paine, and Adam Smith. She was intelligent and well-educated, fluent in both English and Italian. The marriage was a strong one, and Sophie visited her husband regularly while he remained in hiding. Although she began proceedings for divorce in January 1794, it was at the insistence of Condorcet and Cabanis, who wished to protect their property from expropriation and to provide financially for Sophie and their young daughter, Louise ‘Eliza’ Alexandrine.

Condorcet was survived by his widow and their four-year-old daughter Eliza. Sophie died in 1822, never having remarried, and having published all her husband’s works between 1801 and 1804. Her work was carried on by their daughter Eliza Condorcet-O’Connor, wife of former United Irishman Arthur O’Connor. The Condorcet-O’Connors brought out a revised edition between 1847 and 1849.

Gender Equality:
Condorcet’s work was mainly focused on a quest for a more egalitarian society. This path led him to think and write about gender equality in the Revolutionary context. In 1790, he published “De l’admission des femmes au droit de cité”(“On the Admission of Women to the Rights of Citizenship”) in which he strongly advocated for women’s suffrage in the new Republic as well as the enlargement of basic political and social rights to include women. One of the most famous Enlightenment thinkers at the time, he was one of the first to make such a radical proposal. A visionary, he identified gender as a social construction based on perceived differences in sex and rejected biological determinism as being able to explain gender relations in society. He denounced patriarchal norms of oppression, present at every institutional level, and continuously subjugating and marginalising women. Like fellow Enlightenment thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his book Emile ou De l’Education (1762), Condorcet identified education as crucial to the emancipation of individuals. He stated: ″ I believe that all other differences between men and women are simply the result of education″. He saw it as the only solution for women to deconstruct gender roles and promote another kind of masculinity, not based on violence, virility and the subjugation of women but rather on shared attributes such as reason and intelligence. In his book “Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism”, Hooks calls this new concept “feminine masculinity”, ″new models of self‐assertion that do not require the construction of an enemy ‘other,’ be it a woman or the symbolic feminine, for them to define themselves against″.

Condorcet’s whole plea for gender equality is founded on the recognition that the attribution of rights and authority comes from the false assumption that men possess reason and women do not. This is according to Nall, an obvious example of an individual practicing and advocating this feminist masculinity. As such, women should enjoy the same fundamental “natural right”.

Scholars, often disagree on the true impact that Condorcet’s work had on pre-modern feminist thinking. His detractors point out that when he was eventually given some responsibilities in the constitutional drafting process, his convictions did not translate into concrete political action and made limited efforts to push these issues on the agenda. Some scholars on the other hand, believe that this lack of action is not due to the weakness of his commitment but rather to the political atmosphere at the time and the absence of political appetite for gender equality on the part of decision-makers. Along with authors such as Mary Wollstonecraft, d’Alembert or Olympe de Gouges, Condorcet made a lasting contribution to the pre-feminist debate.

The Idea of Progress:
Main article: Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Spirit
Condorcet’s Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Spirit (1795) was perhaps the most influential formulation of the idea of progress ever written. It made the Idea of Progress a central concern of Enlightenment thought. He argued that expanding knowledge in the natural and social sciences would lead to an ever more just world of individual freedom, material affluence, and moral compassion. He argued for three general propositions: that the past revealed an order that could be understood in terms of the progressive development of human capabilities, showing that humanity’s “present state, and those through which it has passed, are a necessary constitution of the moral composition of humankind”; that the progress of the natural sciences must be followed by progress in the moral and political sciences “no less certain, no less secure from political revolutions”; that social evils are the result of ignorance and error rather than an inevitable consequence of human nature.[19]

Condorcet’s writings were a key contribution to the French Enlightenment, particularly his work on the Idea of Progress. Condorcet believed that through the use of our senses and communication with others, knowledge could be compared and contrasted as a way of analyzing our systems of belief and understanding. None of Condorcet’s writings refer to a belief in a religion or a god who intervenes in human affairs. Condorcet instead frequently had written of his faith in humanity itself and its ability to progress with the help of philosophers such as Aristotle. Through this accumulation and sharing of knowledge he believed it was possible for any man to comprehend all the known facts of the natural world. The enlightenment of the natural world spurred the desire for enlightenment of the social and political world. Condorcet believed that there was no definition of the perfect human existence and thus believed that the progression of the human race would inevitably continue throughout the course of our existence. He envisioned man as continually progressing toward a perfectly utopian society. He believed when the great potential towards growth that man possessed.

However, Condorcet stressed that for this to be a possibility man must unify regardless of race, religion, culture or gender.[20] To this end, he became a member of the French Société des Amis des Noirs (Society of the Friends of the Blacks).[21] He wrote a set of rules for the Society of the Friends of the Blacks which detailed the reasoning and goals behind the organization along with describing the injustice of slavery and put in a statement calling for the abolition of the slave trade as the first step to true abolition.

Condorcet was also a strong proponent of women’s civil rights. He claimed that women are equal to men in nearly every aspect and asked why then should they be debarred from their fundamental civil rights. The few differences that do exist are due to the fact that women are limited by their lack of rights. Condorcet even mentioned several women who are more capable then average men such as Queen Elizabeth and Maria-Theresa.

Civic duty:
For Condorcet’s republicanism the nation needed enlightened citizens and education needed democracy to become truly public. Democracy implied free citizens, and ignorance was the source of servitude. Citizens had to be provided with the necessary knowledge to exercise their freedom and understand the rights and laws that guaranteed their enjoyment. Although education could not eliminate disparities in talent, all citizens, including women, had the right to free education. In opposition to those who relied on revolutionary enthusiasm to form the new citizens, Condorcet maintained that revolution was not made to last and that revolutionary institutions were not intended to prolong the revolutionary experience but to establish political rules and legal mechanisms that would insure future changes without revolution. In a democratic city there would be no Bastille to be seized. Public education would form free and responsible citizens, not revolutionaries.

Evaluation:
Rothschild (2001) argues that Condorcet has been seen since the 1790s as the embodiment of the cold, rational Enlightenment. However she suggests his writings on economic policy, voting, and public instruction indicate different views both of Condorcet and of the Enlightenment. Condorcet was concerned with individual diversity; he was opposed to proto-utilitarian theories; he considered individual independence, which he described as the characteristic liberty of the moderns, to be of central political importance; and he opposed the imposition of universal and eternal principles. His efforts to reconcile the universality of some values with the diversity of individual opinions are of continuing interest. He emphasizes the institutions of civilized or constitutional conflict, recognizes conflicts or inconsistencies within individuals, and sees moral sentiments as the foundation of universal values. His difficulties call into question some familiar distinctions, for example between French, German, and English-Scottish thought, and between the Enlightenment and the counter-Enlightenment. There was substantial continuity between Condorcet’s criticism of the economic ideas of the 1760s and the liberal thought of the early 19th century.

The Lycée Condorcet in the rue du Havre, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris is named in his honour, as are streets in many French cities.

Bibliography:
Condorcet’s Political Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) edited by Steven Lukes, and Nadia Urbinati (2012)
He concluded his work with this stirring vision of a man about to die: “Such are the questions with which we shall terminate the last division of our work. And how admirably calculated is this view of the human race, emancipated from its chains, released alike from the dominion of chance, as well as from that of the enemies of its progress, and advancing with a firm and indeviate step in the paths of truth, to console the philosopher lamenting the errors, the flagrant acts of injustice, the crimes with which the earth is still polluted?”

It is indeed the contemplation of this prospect, that rewards Nicolas De Condorset, for all his efforts to assist the progress of Mankind, the progress of Reason, and the robust establishment of Liberty, as a God given Right.

Nicolas, dares to regard these efforts as a part of the eternal chain of the destiny of mankind. And in this persuasion he finds the true delight of virtue, in the pleasure of having performed a durable service, which no vicissitude will ever destroy in the Robespierre’s “Terror” fatal operation, calculated to restore the reign of prejudice and slavery.

This Author’s sentiment alone is the “sanctuary” into which he retires, and to which the memory of his persecutors cannot follow him, because he unites himself in imagination with “Man restored to his Rights” and delivered from oppression, as he proceeds with rapid strides down the path of happiness.

It is at this path, that this particular Man — Nicolas de Condorset, forgets his own misfortunes while his thoughts are thus employed, and he manages to live no longer in adversity, calumny and malice, but becomes the associate of these wiser and more fortunate beings, whose enviable condition he so earnestly contributed to produce.

He is a great supporter and an intellectual precursor of the FREE HUMANS of AMERICA. He was also an intimate of Thomas Jefferson whom he instructed upon the nuances of his philosophy, and he was a great influence to the young American Ambassador to France.

And that might very well be his greatest contribution to the political future of humankind, and to the political science and philosophy of the American Republic’s path to a politically strong development as a Democratic Republic.

In his mathematical treatise expressing the “Wisdom of the Crowds” Nicolas Condorset, had expressed the correct choices of people living under a form of government termed “Democracy” in mathematical terms, as “crowd-wisdom” and yet when this type of government was coming into effect in his native country — it went sideways and drifted into proto-communism and started decapitating people by the thousands.

The French guillotines were functioning at overdrive, and all the good and great people left to exile, went into hiding, or lost their heads in the basket. To wit, this is where the popular expression “Go to hell in a hand basket” comes from…

Yet, it was at this terrible time that Nicolas Condorset, while in hiding for his life — concentrated and wrote an optimistic vision of what a free society would look like.

It is significant to know that he wrote that treatise, just a few days before taking his own life in his prison cell, like another Socrates, after being arrested. While in jail overnight, he took poison and died, fully knowing that his captors would have ordered him executed, since he had already been denounced and judged as a criminal agains the Commune of the people.

How ironic…

But the last laugh was his, because surely upon his death — it must have become obvious to all that both Democracy and Liberty had perished from France during this photo-communist revolution.

During the agony of this period of Parisian and French TERROR, when nobody’s head was safe upon their shoulders, and after Nicolas de Condorset, had found out that he had been denounced as an Aristocrat and a Reactionary, and been sentenced to death by guillotine — Condorcet went into hiding and found temporary shelter under an assumed name, in a lodging-house of” Paris. There, and while living briefly under the “Reign of Terror” of Robespierre, he wrote the little book “On Human Progress” which contains his second most important legacy to mankind.

The leading idea here may be, that perhaps, there only exist a score or two, amongst the dozens of decisive and characteristic views that govern the world, and that every man should master — in order to fully understand his own Life, the Times, & the Age, that he lives into…

Condorset’s ideas inside the book “On Human Progress” is certainly one of them.

When this small book was finished — it appeared as if the author’s part had played out, and that Nicolas had nothing more to live for… And as his retreat was known to at least one person amongst the Montagnards, Condorset feared to compromise those friends who had taken him in, and had hidden him, at the risk of their own lives, and thus he assumed a beggar’s disguise, and crept out of the house with a book of poems by Horace stuffed in one pocket, and a “healthy” dose of poison in the other.

When it was dark, he came to a friend’s door in the countryside. What passed there has never been known, but the fugitive philosopher of mathematical Political Science & Democracy, did not remain at his friend’s home, and he took the path to return to Paris. However, just a few miles outside Paris he was arrested on suspicion, and thrown in the gaol.

When his gaolers checked on him, in the morning — they found him lying dead.

Yet the irony remains that this most Democratic man, was hunted down with orders to be killed, by the Montagnards, who were the radical wing of the Democratic party, the Jacobins in the National Convention during the French Revolution, and who were best known for their rabid and wild proletarian democratic party terror that was unleashed by these so called “Montagnards” while they controlled the French government during the climax of the Revolution in 1793–94 under Robespierre and his Period of Terror.

A revolutionary period of terror so pervasive, that came to simply be called “The Terror” whose main instrument of terror, was that even the suspicion of a thought to commit a crime in the future, would cause you to be denounced and the “Thought Police” would come to arrest you on the mere suspicion of future crime doing.

This craziness, had led to mass killings through the continuous use of the Guillotine, that just in the month of July (early Thermidor), the Commune of PARIS alone, saw more than 1300 victims of the guillotine, whose heads rolled into the baskets.

This eventually swayed the pendulum too far to the other extreme, and it truly revolted the French people so much, that they erupted and overthrew Robespierre, the “Terror” and the Jacobins, in what is known today as the Thermidor reaction.

Thermidorian Reaction, in the French Revolution, the parliamentary revolt initiated on 9 Thermidor, year II (July 27, 1794), which resulted in the fall of Maximilien Robespierre and the collapse of revolutionary fervour and the Reign of Terror in France.

By June 1794 France had become fully weary of the mounting executions (1,300 in June alone), and Paris was alive with rumours of plots against Robespierre, member of the ruling Committee of Public Safety and leading advocate of the Terror. On 8 Thermidor (July 26) he gave a speech full of appeals and threats. The next day, the deputies in the National Convention shouted him down and decreed his arrest. He was arrested at the Hôtel de Ville, along with his brother Augustin, François Hanriot, Georges Couthon, and Louis de Saint-Just. The same guillotine that on 9 Thermidor executed 45 anti-Robespierrists executed, in the following three days, 104 Robespierrists, inaugurating a brief “White Terror” against Jacobins throughout France.

The coup was primarily a reassertion of the rights of the National Convention against the Committee of Public Safety and of the nation against the Paris Commune. It was followed by the disarming of the committee, the emptying of the prisons, and the purging of Jacobin clubs. Social and political life became freer, more extravagant, and more personally corrupt.

There was a splurge of fashion and a conspicuous consumption of bourgeois wealth, while the poor suffered from harsh economic conditions.

Never fear for History…

Because a good Leader for the people will soon emerge.

And soon enough Napoleon Bonaparte showed up to lead the French people in 1799, when he orchestrated a “Coup D’Etat” in November of 1799 and became the First Consul of the Republic, thus closing the French Revolution and it’s “Terror” for good. In a few years he would be the Emperor of the French Republic and would unleash the torrent of wars of conquest against the world, thus expiating the French Fervor and wasting it’s youth as cannon fodder, sapping any energy the French people had for the next couple of hundreds of years…

Indeed the country of France to this day — and I mean today — it hasn’t yet recovered from all that “Terror” unleashed by the proto-communists of the Jacobin revolution and it’s leader the infamous Robespierre’s vision of Hell on Earth as expressed on his slippery slope way, towards achieving the vaunted Worker’s Paradise on Earth…

Isn’t this what Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders promised us too?

You could tell me I am wrong — but this certainly is what Tom Perez the chair of the Democratic National Committee indicates, that he wants.

And that is the clear message sent to all American people, through his support of the Antifa criminals, the BLM racists, and the militant jihad thugs, that he and the DNC have chosen as their favorite allies on the war they have unleashed against the legal American citizens.

As for the support of criminal aliens that the joint forces of all the above characters have shown — it is no wonder that the Democratic party today is seen as a sponsor of terrorism for political gains, and also in order to be allowed to continue getting the illegal votes from all those that are not allowed to vote legally, since they are not citizens of this country.

Simple as that. And because the American people object to that, the DNC and the leaders of the Democratic party, Mr Schumer and Ms Pelosi, support the same thugs and terrorists that Tom Perez of the DNC does.

And as long as they continue to support these people that engage in terrorism within these United States — the Democratic party, it’s leaders, and it’s TERROR — will still be the enemy of the people.

As for myself — I am a SURVIVOR of that terror that was unleashed by the Democratic opponent of mine Ms Patty Murray, and her minions at the Moxie Media and their moron followers inside Microsoft corporation’s HQ campus.

SEE THIS TO UNDERSTAND BOTH MY ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT, AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CORRUPTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_75RzVfbAM&t=14s

Indeed it was the Microsoft high level employees, that conspired along with the Redmond police department that acts as Microsoft Security, and saw that no security would be present at my talk, so that the Antifa bastards and their muslim jihadist friends who work there as MicrosSerfs — sought to assassinate me, while I was giving a speech inside their Redmond HQ Campus.

They failed to kill me but their succeeded in injuring me gravely and now it’s time for payback, from all these accursed dogs of terror and treason, who tried to kill a Candidate for the US Senate, in order to benefit my Democratic party opponents Ms Patty Murray, and Maria Cantrell.

We now have the information that my opponent, the Democratic Senator Patty Murray ordered the attack against me…

SEE THIS TO UNDERSTAND BOTH MY ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT, AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CORRUPTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_75RzVfbAM&t=14s

Imagine how sad it is that the Democratic party operatives are resorting to assassination attempts to remove their opponents because they are so evil minded, corrupt, and criminal — that they reduce themselves to acting like Mafia Capos and not at all like decent human beings Kill — let alone real leaders of people. Of course how can they be leaders of people in a legislative capacity if they do not respect the laws that we already have in the books, and they also diss the number ONE divine law: “You shall Not Kill.”

SEE THIS TO UNDERSTAND BOTH MY ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT, AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CORRUPTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_75RzVfbAM&t=14s

But my opponent Patty Murray does not believe in any laws, if they interfere with her addiction to power, and her need to serve her Evil Masters, the Reptilian creatures of the Democratic party and the deep state Washington DC Swamp.

SEE THIS TO UNDERSTAND BOTH MY ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT, AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CORRUPTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_75RzVfbAM&t=14s

Yet, by the amazing Grace of God and my strong brand of Faith — I survived. And since then I have had an even more amazing recovery through the help of our Savior Jesus Christ that allowed me to recover sufficiently, in order to be able to live-on, and to fight another day…

And that is why I decided to run once again for the United States Senate position, on behalf of the State of Washington.

Because as a denizen of Liberty, and a Citizen of Freedom, running for the position of a Lawgiver in this Great Democratic Republic of the United States of America — I am a veteran that has shed blood in this dirty war that is waged against our Constitution, against our Liberty, and against our Democracy.

SEE THIS TO UNDERSTAND BOTH MY ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT, AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CORRUPTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_75RzVfbAM&t=14s

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 3.02.57 PM

And as a survivor of this dastardly terrorist assassination attempt — I now know that we all have to fight-on, and win this battle against the insidious enemy that seeks to destroy our Republic from within.

So I admonish you that for the sake of this country, you need to vote for me.

Capice?

If not — then you shall, have the quiet fascist Patty Murray as the leader you deserve.

And if you want to see one of Patty Murray’s heroes — here is the Architect of Terror Maximillien Robespierre, on whose shadow-ghost she prays as she unleashes murder, terror, and assassination against her opponents.

Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (French: [mak.si.mi.ljɛ̃ fʁɑ̃.swa ma.ʁi i.zi.dɔʁ də ʁɔ.bɛs.pjɛʁ]; 6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794) was a French lawyer and politician, as well as one of the best known and most influential figures associated with the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.

As a member of the Estates-General, the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, Robespierre was an outspoken advocate for the poor and for democratic institutions. He campaigned for universal male suffrage in France, price controls on basic food commodities and the abolition of slavery in the French colonies. He was an ardent opponent of the death penalty, but played an important role in arranging the execution of King Louis XVI, which led to the establishment of a French Republic.

He is perhaps best known for his role in the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. He was named as a member of the powerful Committee of Public Safety launched by his political ally Georges Danton and exerted his influence to suppress the left-wing Hébertists. As part of his attempts to use extreme measures to control political activity in France, Robespierre later moved against the more moderate Danton, who was accused of corruption and executed in April 1794. The Terror ended a few months later with Robespierre’s arrest and execution in July, events that initiated a period in French history known as the Thermidorian Reaction.[1] Robespierre’s personal responsibility for the excesses of the Terror remains the subject of intense debate among historians of the French Revolution.[2][3]

Influenced by 18th-century Enlightenment philosophes such as Rousseau and Montesquieu, 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).[4]

Robespierre’s reputation has gone through several cycles of re-appraisal. During the Soviet era, Robespierre was used as an example of a revolutionary figure.[5] His reputation peaked in the 1920s with the influence of French historian Albert Mathiez.[6] In more recent times, his reputation has suffered as historians have associated him with an attempt at a radical purification of politics through the killing of enemies.[7][8][a]

Early life
Maximilien de Robespierre was born in Arras in the old French province of Artois. His family has been traced back to the 12th century in Picardy; some of his ancestors in the male line worked as notaries in Carvin near Arras from the beginning of the 17th century.[9] It has been suggested that he was of Irish descent, his surname possibly a corruption of “Robert Speirs”.[10]

His paternal grandfather, also named Maximilien de Robespierre, established himself in Arras as a lawyer. His father, François Maximilien Barthélémy de Robespierre, was a lawyer at the Conseil d’Artois. He married Jacqueline Marguerite Carrault, the daughter of a brewer, on 2 January 1758. Maximilien was the oldest of four children and was conceived out of wedlock. His siblings were Charlotte (born 21 January 1760),[b] Henriette (born 28 December 1761),[c] and Augustin (born 21 January 1763).[11] On 7 July 1764, Madame de Robespierre gave birth to a stillborn son; she died nine days later. Devastated by his wife’s death, François de Robespierre subsequently left Arras and travelled throughout Europe. Until his death in Munich on 6 November 1777, he lived in Arras only occasionally; his two daughters Charlotte and Henriette were brought up by their paternal aunts, and his two sons were taken in by their maternal grandparents. The children would visit each other on Sundays.[12]

Already literate at age 8, Maximilien started attending the collège (middle school) of Arras.[10] In October 1769, on the recommendation of the bishop, he received a scholarship at the Collège Louis-le-Grand, University of Paris in Paris. Robespierre studied there until age 23, receiving his training as a lawyer. Upon his graduation, he received a special prize of 600 livres for twelve years of exemplary academic success and personal good conduct.[13]

In school, he learned to admire the idealised Roman Republic and the rhetoric of Cicero, Cato and other figures from classic history. His fellow pupils included Camille Desmoulins and Stanislas Fréron. He also studied the works of the Swiss philosophe Jean-Jacques Rousseau and was attracted to many of his ideas. Robespierre became intrigued by the idea of a “virtuous self”, a man who stands alone accompanied only by his conscience.[8] His study of the classics prompted him to aspire to Roman virtues, but he sought to emulate Rousseau in particular.[14] Robespierre’s conception of revolutionary virtue and his programme for constructing political sovereignty out of direct democracy came from Rousseau, and in pursuit of these ideals he eventually became known during the Jacobin Republic as “the Incorruptible”.[15] Robespierre believed that the people of France were fundamentally good and were therefore capable of advancing the public well-being of the nation. [16]

Early politics
Having completed his law studies, Robespierre was admitted to the bar of Arras. The Bishop of Arras, Louis François Marc Hilaire de Conzié, appointed him criminal judge in the Diocese of Arras in March 1782. Robespierre soon resigned, owing to discomfort in ruling on capital cases arising from his early opposition to the death penalty.[8] Instead, he quickly became a successful advocate for poor clients. During court hearings he was often known to promote the ideals of the Enlightenment and to argue for the rights of man.[17] Later in his career, he read widely, and also became interested in political and social theory in general. He became regarded as one of the best writers and most popular young men of Arras.

In December 1783 he was elected a member of the academy of Arras, the meetings of which he attended regularly. In 1784 the academy of Metz awarded him a medal for his essay on the question of whether the relatives of a condemned criminal should share his disgrace. He and Pierre Louis de Lacretelle, an advocate and journalist in Paris, divided the prize. Many of his subsequent essays were less successful, but Robespierre was compensated for these failures by his popularity in the literary and musical society at Arras, known as the “Rosatia”. In its meetings he became acquainted with Lazare Carnot, who later became his colleague on the Committee of Public Safety.

In 1788 Robespierre took part in a discussion of how the French provincial government should be elected, arguing in his Addresse à la nation artésienne (Address to the Nation of Artois) that if the former mode of election by the members of the provincial estates was again adopted, the new Estates-General would not represent the people of France. It is possible he brought up this issue so that he could have a chance to take part in the proceedings and thus change the policies of the monarchy.[original research?] King Louis XVI later announced new elections for all provinces, thus allowing Robespierre to run for the position of deputy for the Third Estate.[8][need quotation to verify]

Portrait of Robespierre by Boilly, c. 1791 (Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille).
Although the leading members of the established provincial estates of Artois were elected to the Estates-General, Robespierre succeeded in getting elected with them – even though he was their chief opponent. In the assembly of the bailliage, rivalry ran still higher, but Robespierre had begun to make his mark in politics with the Avis aux habitants de la campagne (Notice to the Residents of the Countryside) of 1789. With this, he secured the support of the country electors. Although he was only thirty, comparatively poor, and lacking patronage, he was elected as the fifth deputy of the Third Estate of Artois to the Estates-General. When Robespierre arrived at Versailles few of the other deputies knew him, but he became part of the representative National Assembly (13 June 1789) declared by the Third Estate, soon to transform itself (9 July 1789) into the National Constituent Assembly.[8]

While the Constituent Assembly occupied itself with drawing up a constitution, Robespierre turned his attention away from the assembly of provincial lawyers and wealthy bourgeois in favour of the lower classes of France, particularly Jews, Blacks, and actors.[18][19] As a frequent speaker in the Constituent Assembly, he voiced many ideas in support of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Constitutional Provisions, often with great success. During this period Robespierre coined the famous motto “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” (Freedom, Equality, fraternity).[d][8] He was eventually recognised[by whom?] as second only to Pétion de Villeneuve as a leader of the small body of the extreme left, “the thirty voices”, as Mirabeau referred to them with contempt.

Jacobin Club
After his arrival in Paris from Versailles in 1789, along with the National Assembly, Robespierre soon became involved with the new Society of the Friends of the Constitution, known eventually as the Jacobin Club.[20] Originally, this organisation was made up only of deputies from Brittany. After the National Assembly moved to Paris, the Club began to admit various leaders of the Parisian bourgeoisie to its membership. As time went on, many of the more educated artisans and small shopkeepers became members of the club.[20]

Among such men, Robespierre found a sympathetic audience. As the wealthier bourgeois of Paris and right-wing deputies seceded from the club of 1789, the influence of the old leaders of the Jacobins, such as Antoine Barnave, Adrien Duport, and Alexandre de Lameth, diminished. Alarmed at the progress of the Revolution, they founded the club of the Feuillants in 1791.[21] As a result, the left, including Robespierre and his friends, dominated the Jacobin Club.

On 15 May 1791, 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 as deputies with experience and knowledge of the difficulties faced by France were to be replaced by new and often more enthusiastic men.[22]

The Flight to Varennes on 20 June and the subsequent arrest of Louis XVI and his family resulted in Robespierre’s declaration at the Jacobin Club that he was “ni monarchiste ni républicain” (“neither monarchist nor republican”).[23] This stance was not unusual at this time, since there were still few republicans among the politicians in France.

In 1790, Robespierre moved to rue de Saintonge, No. 9 near the Tuileries Palace.[24] After the massacre on the Champ de Mars on 17 July 1791, he moved to the house of Maurice Duplay, a cabinetmaker and ardent admirer of Robespierre who lived in the Rue Saint-Honoré.[25] He was motivated by fears for his safety and a desire to live closer to the National Assembly and the meeting places of the Jacobins. Robespierre lived there until his death except for two short intervals. According to his doctor Joseph Souberbielle, the revolutionary juror Joachim Vilate, and Duplay’s daughter Élisabeth, Robespierre became engaged to Duplay’s eldest daughter Éléonore, but no marriage ever took place.[26]

On 30 September, on the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the people of Paris named Pétion and Robespierre as the two incorruptible patriots in an attempt to honour their purity of principles, their modest ways of living, and their refusal of bribes.[17] With the dissolution of the Assembly, Robespierre returned to Arras for a short visit, where he met with a triumphant reception. In November, he returned to Paris to take the position of public prosecutor of Paris.[27]

Opposition to war with Austria

Terracotta bust of Robespierre by Deseine, 1791 (Musée de la Révolution française)
In February 1792, Jacques Pierre Brissot, one of the leaders of the Girondist party in the Legislative Assembly, urged that France should declare war against Austria. Jean-Paul Marat and Robespierre opposed him, because they feared the influence of militarism, which might be turned to the advantage of the reactionary forces. Robespierre was also convinced that the internal stability of the country was more important. This opposition from expected allies irritated the Girondists, and the war became a major point of contention between the factions. Robespierre countered, “A revolutionary war must be waged to free subjects and slaves from unjust tyranny, not for the traditional reasons of defending dynasties and expanding frontiers…” Indeed, argued Robespierre, such a war could only favour the forces of counter-revolution, since it would play into the hands of those who opposed the sovereignty of the people. The risks of Caesarism were clear, for in wartime, the powers of the generals would grow at the expense of ordinary soldiers, and the power of the king and court at the expense of the Assembly. These dangers should not be overlooked, he reminded his listeners, “…in troubled periods of history, generals often became the arbiters of the fate of their countries.”[28]

Robespierre warned against the threat of dictatorship stemming from war, in the following terms (1791):

If they are Caesars or Cromwells, they seize power for themselves. If they are spineless courtiers, uninterested in doing good yet dangerous when they seek to do harm, they go back to lay their power at their master’s feet, and help him to resume arbitrary power on condition they become his chief servants. [29]

Robespierre also argued that force was not an effective or proper way of spreading the ideals of the Revolution (1792):

The most extravagant idea that can arise in a politician’s head is to believe that it is enough for a people to invade a foreign country to make it adopt their laws and their constitution. No one loves armed missionaries… The Declaration of the Rights of Man… is not a lightning bolt which strikes every throne at the same time… I am far from claiming that our Revolution will not eventually influence the fate of the world… But I say that it will not be today.[30]

In April 1792, Robespierre resigned the post of public prosecutor of Versailles, which he had officially held, but not practised since February, and started a journal, Le Défenseur de la Constitution (The Defender of the Constitution). The journal served multiple purposes: to counter the influence of the royal court in public policy; to defend Robespierre from the accusations of Girondist leaders; and to give voice to the economic interests of the broader masses in Paris and beyond.[31]

The National Convention
When the Legislative Assembly declared war against Austria on 20 April 1792, Robespierre responded by working to reduce the political influence of the officer class and the king. While arguing for the welfare of common soldiers, Robespierre urged new promotions to mitigate the domination of the officer class by the aristocratic École Militaire. Along with other Jacobins, he also urged the creation of popular militias (staffed by revolutionaries known as the fédérés) to defend France.[32] This sentiment reflected the perspective of more radical Jacobins including those of the Marseille Club, who in May and June 1792 wrote to Pétion and the people of Paris, “Here and at Toulon we have debated the possibility of forming a column of 100,000 men to sweep away our enemies… Paris may have need of help. Call on us!” [33]

Because French forces suffered disastrous defeats and a series of defections at the onset of the war, Robespierre and Danton feared the possibility of a military coup d’état,[34] above all one led by the Marquis de Lafayette, who in June advocated the suppression of the Jacobin Club. Robespierre publicly attacked him in scathing terms: “General, while from the midst of your camp you declared war upon me, which you had thus far spared for the enemies of our state, while you denounced me as an enemy of liberty to the army, national guard and Nation in letters published by your purchased papers, I had thought myself only disputing with a general… but not yet the dictator of France, arbitrator of the state.”[35]

In early June 1792, Robespierre proposed an end to the monarchy and the subordination of the Assembly to the popular will.[36] Following the king’s veto of the Legislative Assembly’s efforts to raise a militia and suppress non-juring priests, the monarchy faced an abortive insurrection on 20 June, exactly three years after the Tennis Court Oath.[37] Fédérés entered Paris without the king’s approval, and on 10 August 1792, the insurrectionary National Guard of Paris, fédérés and sans-culottes led a successful assault upon the Tuileries Palace with the intention of overthrowing the monarchy.[38]

On 16 August, Robespierre presented a petition to the Legislative Assembly from the Paris Commune (the municipal government of the city) to demand the establishment of a revolutionary tribunal and the summoning of a convention chosen by universal suffrage.[39] Dismissed from his command of the French Northern Army, Lafayette fled France along with other sympathetic officers.

In September, Robespierre was elected first deputy for Paris to the National Convention. Robespierre and his allies took the benches high at the back of the hall, giving them the label “the Montagnards”, or “the Mountaineers”; below them were the “Manège” of the Girondists and then “the Plain” of the independents. The Girondists at the Convention accused Robespierre of failing to stop the September Massacres. On 26 September, the Girondist Marc-David Lasource accused Robespierre of wanting to form a dictatorship. Rumours spread that Robespierre, Marat and Danton were plotting to establish a triumvirate. On 29 October, Louvet de Couvrai attacked Robespierre in a speech, possibly written by Madame Roland. On 5 November, Robespierre defended himself, the Jacobin Club and his supporters in and beyond Paris:

Upon the Jacobins I exercise, if we are to believe my accusers, a despotism of opinion, which can be regarded as nothing other than the forerunner of dictatorship. Firstly, I do not know what a dictatorship of opinion is, above all in a society of free men… unless this describes nothing more than the natural compulsion of principles. In fact, this compulsion hardly belongs to the man who enunciates them; it belongs to universal reason and to all men who wish to listen to its voice. It belongs to my colleagues of the Constituent Assembly, to the patriots of the Legislative Assembly, to all citizens who will invariably defend the cause of liberty. Experience has proven, despite Louis XVI and his allies, that the opinion of the Jacobins and of the popular clubs were those of the French Nation; no citizen has made them, and I did nothing other than share in them.[40]

Turning the accusations upon his accusers, Robespierre delivered one of the most famous lines of the French Revolution to the Assembly:

I will not remind you that the sole object of contention dividing us is that you have instinctively defended all acts of new ministers, and we, of principles; that you seemed to prefer power, and we equality… Why don’t you prosecute the Commune, the Legislative Assembly, the Sections of Paris, the Assemblies of the Cantons and all who imitated us? For all these things have been illegal, as illegal as the Revolution, as the fall of the Monarchy and of the Bastille, as illegal as liberty itself… Citizens, do you want a revolution without a revolution? What is this spirit of persecution which has directed itself against those who freed us from chains?[41]

Robespierre’s speech marked a profound political break between the Montagnards and the Girondins, strengthening the former in the context of an increasingly revolutionary situation punctuated by the fall of Louis XVI, the invasion of France and the September Massacres in Paris.[42] It also heralded increased involvement and intervention by the sans-culottes in revolutionary politics.[43]

Execution of Louis XVI

The interrogation of Louis XVI at the National Convention
The Convention’s unanimous declaration of a French Republic on 21 September 1792 left open the fate of the king. A commission was therefore established to examine evidence against him while the Convention’s Legislation Committee considered legal aspects of any future trial. Most Montagnards favoured judgment and execution, while the Girondins were divided concerning Louis’s fate, with some arguing for royal inviolability, others for clemency, and some advocating lesser punishment or death.[44] On 20 November, opinion turned sharply against Louis following the discovery of a secret cache of 726 documents consisting of Louis’s personal communications.[45]

Robespierre had been taken ill in November and had done little other than support Saint-Just in his argument against the king’s inviolability. Robespierre wrote in his Defenseur de la Constitution that a Constitution which Louis had violated himself, and which declared his inviolability, could not now be used in his defence.[46] Now, with the question of the king’s fate occupying public discourse, Robespierre on 3 December delivered a speech that would define the rhetoric and course of Louis’s trial.[47] Robespierre argued that the king, now dethroned, could function only as a threat to liberty and national peace, and that the members of the Assembly were not fair judges, but rather statesmen with responsibility for public safety:

Louis was a king, and our republic is established; the critical question concerning you must be decided by these words alone. Louis was dethroned by his crimes; Louis denounced the French people as rebels; he appealed to chains, to the armies of tyrants who are his brothers; the victory of the people established that Louis alone was a rebel; Louis cannot therefore be judged; he already is judged. He is condemned, or the republic cannot be absolved. To propose to have a trial of Louis XVI, in whatever manner one may, is to retrogress to royal despotism and constitutionality; it is a counter-revolutionary idea because it places the revolution itself in litigation. In effect, if Louis may still be given a trial, he may be absolved, and innocent. What am I to say? He is presumed to be so until he is judged. But if Louis is absolved, if he may be presumed innocent, what becomes of the revolution? If Louis is innocent, all the defenders of liberty become slanderers. Our enemies have been friends of the people and of truth and defenders of innocence oppressed; all the declarations of foreign courts are nothing more than the legitimate claims against an illegal faction. Even the detention that Louis has endured is, then, an unjust vexation; the fédérés, the people of Paris, all the patriots of the French Empire are guilty; and this great trial in the court of nature judging between crime and virtue, liberty and tyranny, is at last decided in favour of crime and tyranny. Citizens, take warning; you are being fooled by false notions; you confuse positive, civil rights with the principles of the rights of mankind; you confuse the relationships of citizens amongst themselves with the connections between nations and an enemy that conspires against it; you confuse the situation of a people in revolution with that of a people whose government is affirmed; you confuse a nation that punishes a public functionary to conserve its form of government, and one that destroys the government itself. We are falling back upon ideas familiar to us, in an extraordinary case that depends upon principles we have never yet applied.[48]

In arguing for a judgment by the elected Convention without trial, Robespierre supported the recommendations of Jean-Baptiste Mailhe, who headed the commission reporting on legal aspects of Louis’s trial or judgment. Unlike some Girondins, Robespierre specifically opposed judgment by primary assemblies or a referendum, believing that this could cause civil war. [49] While he called for a trial of queen Marie Antoinette and the imprisonment of the Dauphin, Robespierre argued for the death penalty in the case of the king:

As for myself, I abhor the death penalty administered by your laws, and for Louis I have neither love, nor hate; I hate only his crimes. I have demanded the abolition of the death penalty at your Constituent Assembly, and am not to blame if the first principles of reason appeared to you moral and political heresies. But if you will never reclaim these principles in favour of so much evil, the crimes of which belong less to you and more to the government, by what fatal error would you remember yourselves and plead for the greatest of criminals? You ask an exception to the death penalty for him alone who could legitimise it? Yes, the death penalty is in general a crime, unjustifiable by the indestructible principles of nature, except in cases protecting the safety of individuals or the society altogether. Ordinary misdemeanours have never threatened public safety because society may always protect itself by other means, making those culpable powerless to harm it. But for a king dethroned in the bosom of a revolution, which is as yet cemented only by laws; a king whose name attracts the scourge of war upon a troubled nation; neither prison, nor exile can render his existence inconsequential to public happiness; this cruel exception to the ordinary laws avowed by justice can be imputed only to the nature of his crimes. With regret I pronounce this fatal truth: Louis must die so that the nation may live.[50]

On 14 January 1793, the king was unanimously voted guilty of conspiracy and attacks upon public safety. On 15 January, the call for a referendum was defeated by 424 votes to 287, which was led by Robespierre. On 16 January, voting began for the king’s sentence, and the session continued until 18 January. During this time, Robespierre worked fervently to ensure the king’s execution. Of the 721 deputies who voted, at least 361 had to have voted for death. Louis was executed two days later, on 21 January, in the Place de la Révolution.[51]

Destruction of the Girondists

Journées des 31 Mai, 1er et 2 Juin 1793, an engraving of the riots organized by the Commune.
After the execution of the king, the influence of Robespierre, Danton and the pragmatic politicians increased at the expense of the Girondists. The Girondists refused to have anything more to do with Danton and because of this the government became more divided.

The economic situation in France was rapidly deteriorating and the Paris populace became restless. Rioting persisted and a commission of inquiry of twelve members was set up, on which only Girondins sat. Popular militants were arrested. On 25 May, the Paris Commune demanded that arrested patriots be released and sections drew the list of 22 prominent Girondists to be removed from the Convention. Maximin Isnard declared that Paris would be destroyed if it came out against the provincial deputies. Robespierre preached a moral “insurrection against the corrupt deputies” at the Jacobin Club. The Jacobins declared themselves in state of insurrection. On 29 May, the delegates representing thirty-three of the Paris sections formed an insurrectionary committee.[52]

On 2 June, 80,000 armed sans-culottes surrounded the Convention. After an attempt of deputies to exit collided with their guns, the deputies resigned themselves to declare the arrest of 29 leading Girondins. During the insurrection Robespierre had scrawled a note in his memorandum-book:

What we need is a single will (il faut une volonté une). It must be either republican or royalist. If it is to be republican, we must have republican ministers, republican papers, republican deputies, a republican government. The internal dangers come from the middle classes; in order to defeat the middle classes we must rally the people. … The people must ally itself with the Convention, and the Convention must make use of the people.[53][e]

Reign of Terror
Main article: Reign of Terror

Cartoon showing Robespierre guillotining the executioner after having guillotined everyone else in France.
After the fall of the monarchy, the revolutionary French government faced serious internal and external challenges, including the War of the First Coalition and insurrectionary War in the Vendée. French revolutionary politicians believed a stable government was needed to quell the chaos.[17] On 11 March 1793, a Revolutionary Tribunal was established by Jacobins in the Convention.[54] On 6 April, Maximin Isnard and Georges Danton spearheaded the creation of a nine-member Committee of Public Safety to replace the larger Committee of General Defence. On 27 July 1793, Robespierre was elected to the Committee, although he had not sought the position.[55]

The Committee of General Security began to manage the country’s internal police. Terror was formally instituted as a legal policy by the Convention on 5 September 1793 in a proclamation that read, “It is time that equality bore its scythe above all heads. It is time to horrify all the conspirators. So legislators, place Terror on the order of the day! Let us be in revolution, because everywhere counter-revolution is being woven by our enemies. The blade of the law should hover over all the guilty.”[55]

In the winter of 1793–94, a majority of the Committee decided that the Hébertist party would have to perish or its opposition within the Committee would overshadow the other factions due to its influence in the Commune of Paris. Robespierre also had personal reasons for disliking the Hébertists for their “atheism” and “bloodthirstiness”, which he associated with the old aristocracy.[27]

In early 1794, he finally broke with Danton, who had angered many other members of the Committee of Public Safety with his more moderate views on the Terror, but whom Robespierre had, until this point, persisted in defending. Subsequently, he joined in attacks on the Dantonists and the Hébertists.[8] Robespierre charged his opponents with complicity with foreign powers.

In Report on the Principles of Political Morality of 5 February 1794, Robespierre praised the revolutionary government and argued that terror and virtue were necessary:

If virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country … The government in a revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny.[56]

From 13 February to 13 March 1794, Robespierre withdrew from active business on the Committee due to illness. On 15 March, he reappeared in the Convention. Hébert and nineteen of his followers were arrested on 19 March and guillotined on 24 March. Danton, Desmoulins and their friends were arrested on 30 March and guillotined on 5 April.

Georges Couthon, his ally on the Committee, introduced and carried on 10 June the drastic Law of 22 Prairial, named for the day it was passed in the French Republican Calendar. Under this law, the Tribunal became a simple court of condemnation without need of witnesses. Historians frequently debate the reasons behind Robespierre’s support of the Law of 22 Prairial. Some consider it an attempt to extend his influence into a dictatorship, while others argue it was adopted to expedite the passage of the reformist, land-redistributive Ventôse Decrees.[citation needed]

“To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is barbarity.”
— Maximilien Robespierre, 1794[57]

Though nominally all members of the committee were equal, Robespierre was later presented during the Thermidorian Reaction by the surviving protagonists of the Terror, especially Bertrand Barère, as prominent. They may have exaggerated his role to downplay their own contribution and used him as a scapegoat after his death. [58]

Historian William Doyle writes, “It is not violent fulminations that characterise Robespierre’s speeches on the Terror. It is the language of unmasking, unveiling, revealing, discovering, exposing the enemy within, the enemy hidden behind patriotic posturings, the language of suspicion.[59] Doyle argues that Robespierre was never a dictator nor meant to become one, but that his own paranoia, in the face of plots and assassination attempts, drove him into mortal conflict with his political opponents in the Revolution.[59]

Robespierre saw no room for mercy in his Terror, stating that “slowness of judgments is equal to impunity” and “uncertainty of punishment encourages all the guilty”. Throughout his Report on the Principles of Political Morality, Robespierre assailed any stalling of action in defence of the Republic. The report was a tract that urged the furtherance of the Revolution at all costs. In his thinking, there was not enough that could be done fast enough in defence against enemies at home and abroad. A staunch believer in the teachings of Rousseau, Robespierre believed that it was his duty as a public servant to push the Revolution forward, and that the only rational way to do that was to defend it on all fronts. The Report did not merely call for blood but also expounded many of the original ideas of the 1789 Revolution, such as political equality, suffrage and abolition of privileges.[60]

Abolition of slavery
Throughout the course of the Revolution, Robespierre both ambivalently and outspokenly opposed slavery on French soil or in French territories and played an important role in abolishing it.[61][62]

In May 1791 Robespierre argued passionately in the National Assembly against the Colonial Committee, dominated by slaveholders in the Caribbean. The colonial lobby declared that political rights for blacks would cause France to lose her colonies. Robespierre responded, “We should not compromise the interests humanity holds most dear, the sacred rights of a significant number of our fellow citizens,” later shouting, “Death to the colonies!”[63] Robespierre was furious that the assembly gave “constitutional sanction to slavery in the colonies,” and argued for equal political rights regardless of skin colour.[64] Robespierre did not argue for slavery’s immediate abolition. Nevertheless, pro-slavery advocates in France regarded Robespierre as a “bloodthirsty innovator” and as a traitor plotting to give French colonies to England.[63] Only months later, hundreds of thousands of slaves in St Domingue led a revolution against slavery and colonial rule.[65]

In the following years, the slaves of St. Domingue effectively liberated themselves and formed an army to oppose re-enslavement. Robespierre denounced the slave trade in a speech before the Convention in April 1793.[66] The radical 1793 constitution supported by Robespierre and the Montagnards, which was ratified by a national referendum, granted universal suffrage to French men and explicitly condemned slavery. But the constitution was never implemented.[66] In November 1793, Robespierre gave his support to a proposal to investigate the colonial general Léger-Félicité Sonthonax, a Girondist who had freed slaves in the colonies.[66] At the same time, Robespierre denounced the French minister to the newly formed United States, Edmond-Charles Genêt, who had sided with Sonthonax.[66]

By 1794, French debates concerning slavery reached their apogee. In late January, delegations representing both former slaveholders and former slaves arrived in France to petition for slavery or its abolition.[66] Briefly imprisoned, the delegation opposing slavery was freed on the orders of the Committee of Public Safety, on which Robespierre sat. Receiving the delegation on their release, the National Convention passed a decree banning slavery on 4 February.[66] Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety, at the same time, heard a petition from the slaveholders, which they did not act upon. On the day after the emancipation decree, Robespierre delivered a speech to the National Convention in which he praised the French as the first to “summon all men to equality and liberty, and their full rights as citizens,” using the word slavery twice but without specifically mentioning the French colonies.[66] Despite petitions from the slaveholding delegation, Robespierre and the Committee decided to endorse the decree in full.[66]

Several weeks later, in a speech before the committee of public safety, Robespierre linked the cruelty of slavery with serfdom:

Ask a merchant of human flesh what is property; he will answer by showing you that long coffin he calls a ship… Ask a gentleman [the same] who has lands and vassals… and he will give you almost the identical ideas.

— Robespierre, “The Principles of Property”, 24 April 1794. [67][68]
He attended a meeting of the Jacobin club in June 1794 to support a decree ending slavery, and later signed orders to ratify it. [67] The decree led to a surge in popularity for the Republic among blacks in St-Domingue, most of whom had already freed themselves and were seeking military alliances to guarantee their freedom.[64]

Cult of the Supreme Being
Main article: Cult of the Supreme Being

The Festival of the Supreme Being, by Pierre-Antoine Demachy (1794)
Robespierre’s desire for revolutionary change was not limited to the political realm. He opposed the power of the Catholic Church and the pope, particularly in opposition to their celibacy policies.[69] Having denounced the excesses of dechristianisation, he sought to instill a spiritual resurgence in the French nation based on Deist beliefs. Accordingly, on 7 May 1794, Robespierre supported a decree passed by the Convention that established an official religion, known historically as the Cult of the Supreme Being. The notion of the Supreme Being was based on ideas that Jean-Jacques Rousseau had outlined in The Social Contract. A nationwide “Festival of the Supreme Being” was held on 8 June (which was also the Christian holiday of Pentecost). The festivities in Paris were held in the Champ de Mars, which was renamed the Champ de la Réunion (“Field of Reunion”) for that day. This was most likely in honour of the Champ de Mars Massacre, where the Republicans first rallied against the power of the Crown.[70] Robespierre, who happened to be president of the Convention that week, walked first in the festival procession and delivered a speech in which he emphasised his concept of a Supreme Being:

Is it not He whose immortal hand, engraving on the heart of man the code of justice and equality, has written there the death sentence of tyrants? Is it not He who, from the beginning of time, decreed for all the ages and for all peoples liberty, good faith, and justice? He did not create kings to devour the human race. He did not create priests to harness us, like vile animals, to the chariots of kings and to give to the world examples of baseness, pride, perfidy, avarice, debauchery and falsehood. He created the universe to proclaim His power. He created men to help each other, to love each other mutually, and to attain to happiness by the way of virtue.[71]

Throughout the “Festival of the Supreme Being”, Robespierre was beaming with joy; not even the negativity of his colleagues could disrupt his delight. He was able to speak of the things about which he was truly passionate, including Virtue and Nature, typical deist beliefs, and his disagreements with atheism. Everything was arranged to the exact specifications that had been previously set before the ceremony. The ominous and symbolic guillotine had been moved to the original standing place of the Bastille, all of the people were placed in the appropriate area designated to them, and everyone was dressed accordingly.[72] Not only was everything going smoothly, but the festival was also Robespierre’s first appearance in the public eye as a leader for the people, and also as president of the Convention, to which he had been elected only four days earlier.[72]

While for some it was an excitement to see him at his finest, many other leaders involved in the festival agreed that Robespierre had taken things too far. Multiple sources state that Robespierre came down the mountain in a way that resembled Moses as the leader of the people, and one of his colleagues, Jacques-Alexis Thuriot, was heard saying, “Look at the bugger; it’s not enough for him to be master, he has to be God”.[73]

Marc-Guillaume Alexis Vadier used a report to the Convention on Catherine Théot as an opportunity to attack Robespierre and his beliefs. [74] Théot was a seventy-eight-year-old, self-declared “prophetess” who had, at one point, been imprisoned in the Bastille.[74] By stating that Robespierre was the “herald of the Last Days, prophet of the New Dawn”[74] (because his festival had fallen on the Pentecost, traditionally a day revealing “divine manifestation”), Catherine Théot made it seem that Robespierre had made these claims himself, to her. She also claimed that he was a reincarnation of Saul, the saviour of Israel, and the chosen of God.[75] Many of her followers were also supporters or friends of Robespierre, which made it seem as if he was attempting to create a new religion, with him as its god. Although Robespierre had nothing to do with Catherine Théot or her followers, many assumed that he was on a path to dictatorship, and it sent a current of fear throughout the Convention, contributing to his downfall the following July.

Downfall
Main articles: Fall of Maximilien Robespierre and Thermidorian Reaction
On 23 May 1794, one day after the attempted assassination of Collot d’Herbois, another member of the Committee of Public Safety, Cécile Renault was arrested after having approached Robespierre’s residence with two small knives; she was executed one month later. At this point, the Law of 22 Prairial was introduced to the public without consultation from the Committee of General Security, which, in turn, doubled the number of executions permitted by the Committee of Public Safety.[76]

This law permitted the execution of citizens thought to be counter-revolutionaries, even under simple suspicion and without extensive trials. When the Committee of Public Safety allowed the law to be passed, the Convention began to question it out of fear that Robespierre and his allies might come after certain members of the Convention, and even the Committee itself, due to the excesses carried out by its representatives, such as Joseph Fouché, Jean-Baptiste Carrier and Jean-Lambert Tallien, who had been sent to various regions of France to stamp out opposition to the revolutionary government in Paris.[77] Robespierre worked tirelessly (and almost alone) to curb their excesses against the opposition of others who condemned him for his moderation in defending revolutionary ideals. He had them recalled to Paris to account for their actions and expelled from the Jacobin Club. Nonetheless, they were able to evade arrest. Fouché spent the evenings moving house to house, warning members of the Convention that Robespierre was after them while organising his own coup d’état.[78]

Robespierre appeared at the Convention on 26 July (8 Thermidor, according to the French Republican Calendar), and delivered a two-hour-long speech. He defended himself against charges of dictatorship and tyranny, and then proceeded to warn of a conspiracy against the Republic. Specifically, he railed against the bloody excesses he had observed during the Terror. He also implied that members of the Convention were a part of this conspiracy, though when pressed, he refused to provide any names. The speech alarmed members, particularly given Fouché’s warnings. The members who felt that Robespierre was alluding to them tried to prevent the speech from being printed, and a bitter debate ensued until Barère forced an end to it. Later that evening, Robespierre delivered the same speech again at the Jacobin Club, where it was very well received.[79]

The following day, Saint-Just began to give a speech in support of Robespierre in the Convention. Those who had seen him working on his speech the night before expected accusations to arise from it. Saint-Just had time to give only a small part of his speech before Tallien interrupted him. While the accusations began to pile up, Saint-Just remained uncharacteristically silent. Robespierre then attempted to secure the tribune to speak, but his voice was shouted down. Robespierre soon found himself at a loss for words after one deputy called for his arrest and Vadier gave a mocking impression of him. When one deputy witnessed Robespierre’s inability to respond, the man shouted, “The blood of Danton chokes him!”[80] Robespierre then finally regained his voice to reply with his one recorded statement of the morning, a demand to know why he was now being blamed for the other man’s death: “Is it Danton you regret? … Cowards! Why didn’t you defend him?”[81]

Arrest

Painting of Charles-André Merda shooting Robespierre.

Valery Jacobi’s painting “Ninth Thermidor” showing the wounded Robespierre
The Convention ordered the arrest of Robespierre that same day, 27 July, along with his brother Augustin, Couthon, Saint-Just, François Hanriot, and Philippe-François-Joseph Le Bas. Troops from the Paris Commune, under General Coffinhal, arrived to free the prisoners and then marched against the Convention itself. The Convention responded by ordering troops of its own under Paul Barras to be called out. When the troops of the Paris Commune heard this news, order began to break down, and Hanriot ordered his remaining troops to withdraw to the Hôtel de Ville, headquarters of the Paris Commune, where Robespierre and his supporters also gathered. The Convention declared them to be outlaws, meaning that upon verification, the fugitives could be executed within twenty-four hours without a trial.

As the night went on, the forces of the Paris Commune deserted the Hôtel de Ville and, at around two in the morning, those of the Convention under the command of Barras arrived there. In order to avoid capture, Augustin Robespierre threw himself out a window, only to break both of his legs; Couthon was found lying at the bottom of a staircase, having fallen from his wheelchair; Le Bas committed suicide by shooting himself in the head; and Hanriot jumped from another window and landed in an open sewer, but did not die as a result of the fall. Robespierre tried to kill himself with a pistol, but only managed to shatter his lower jaw,[82] although some eyewitnesses claimed that he was shot by Charles-André Merda.[83]

Execution

The execution of Robespierre. The beheaded man is not Robespierre, but Couthon; the body of La Bas is shown lying on the ground; Robespierre {#10} is shown sitting on the cart closest to the scaffold holding a handkerchief to his mouth.
For the remainder of the night, Robespierre was laid on a table in the room of the Committee of Public Safety, where he awaited execution. He lay on the table bleeding profusely until a doctor was brought in to attempt to stanch the bleeding from his jaw. Robespierre’s last recorded words may have been “Merci, monsieur” (“Thank you, sir”) to a man who had given him a handkerchief for the blood on his face and clothing.[84] Later, Robespierre was placed in the cell where Marie Antoinette, the wife of King Louis XVI, had been held.

The same day, 28 July 1794, in the afternoon, Robespierre was guillotined without trial in the Place de la Révolution. His brother Augustin, Couthon, Saint-Just, Hanriot, and twelve other followers, among them the cobbler Antoine Simon, the jailor of Louis-Charles, Dauphin of France, were also executed.[85] When clearing Robespierre’s neck, the executioner tore off the bandage that was holding his shattered jaw in place, causing Robespierre to produce an agonised scream until the fall of the blade silenced him.[86] Together with those executed with him, he was buried in a common grave at the newly opened Errancis Cemetery[87] (near what is now the Place Prosper-Goubaux). A plaque indicating the former site of this cemetery is located at 97 rue de Monceau, Paris. Between 1844 and 1859 (probably in 1848), the remains of all those buried there were moved to the Catacombs of Paris.

Legacy and memory

La Place Robespierre in Marseille with inscription: “Lawyer, born in Arras in 1758, guillotined without trial on 27 July 1794. Nicknamed L’Incorruptible. Defender of the people. Author of our republican motto: Liberté Égalité Fraternité”
At the time of his death, Robespierre had no debts, and his property was sold at auction in the Palais Royal early in 1796, fetching 38,601 livres (over £100).[88]

Robespierre’s reputation has gone through several cycles of re-appraisal. During the Soviet era, he was used as an example of a Revolutionary figure.[5] It peaked in the 1920s after the influential French historian Albert Mathiez argued that he was an eloquent spokesman for the poor and oppressed, an enemy of royalist intrigues, a vigilant adversary of dishonest and corrupt politicians, a guardian of the French Republic, an intrepid leader of the French Revolutionary government, and a prophet of a socially responsible state.[6] In more recent times, his reputation has suffered as historians have associated him with an attempt at a radical purification of politics through the killing of enemies.[89][8] In 1989, historian Francois Furet argued that this reappraisal of Robespierre has been technically inaccurate:

There are two ways of totally misunderstanding Robespierre as historical figure: one is to detest the man, the other is to make too much of him. It is absurd, of course, to see the lawyer from Arras as a monstrous usurper, the recluse as a demagogue, the moderate as bloodthirsty tyrant, the democrat as a dictator. On the other hand, what is explained about his destiny once it is proved that he really was the Incorruptible? The misconception common to both schools arises from the fact that they attribute to the psychological traits of the man the historical role into which he was thrust by events and the language he borrowed from them. Robespierre is an immortal figure not because he reigned supreme over the Revolution for a few months, but because he was the mouthpiece of its purest and most tragic discourse.[90]

Nevertheless, Robespierre remains controversial to this day. Apart from one Metro station in Montreuil (a Paris suburb) and several streets named after him in about twenty towns, there are no memorials or monuments to him in France. By making himself the embodiment of virtue and of total commitment, he took control of the Revolution in its most radical and bloody phase: the Jacobin republic. His goal in the Terror was to use the guillotine to create what he called a “republic of virtue”, wherein terror and virtue would be imposed at the same time. He argued, “Terror is nothing more than speedy, severe and inflexible justice; it is thus an emanation of virtue; it is less a principle in itself, than a consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing needs of the patrie [the ‘fatherland’].”[91]

Terror was thus a tool to accomplish his overarching goals for democracy. Historian Ruth Scurr wrote that, as for Robespierre’s vision for France, he wanted a “democracy for the people, who are intrinsically good and pure of heart; a democracy in which poverty is honourable, power innocuous, and the vulnerable safe from oppression; a democracy that worships nature—not nature as it really is, cruel and disgusting, but nature sanitised, majestic, and, above all, good.”[92]

In terms of historiography, he has several defenders. Marxist historian Albert Soboul viewed most of the measures of the Committee for Public Safety as necessary for the defence of the Revolution and mainly regretted the destruction of the Hébertists and other enragés:

Robespierre’s main ideal was to ensure the virtue and sovereignty of the people. He disapproved of any acts which could be seen as exposing the nation to counter-revolutionaries and traitors, and became increasingly fearful of the defeat of the Revolution. He instigated the Terror and the deaths of his peers as a measure of ensuring a Republic of Virtue; but his ideals went beyond the needs and wants of the people of France. He became a threat to what he had wanted to ensure and the result was his downfall.[8]

Soboul, according to Ishay, argues that he and Saint-Just “were too preoccupied in defeating the interest of the bourgeoisie to give their total support to the sans-culottes, and yet too attentive to the needs of the sans-culottes to get support from the middle class.”[93] For Marxists like Soboul, Robespierre’s petit-bourgeois class interests were fatal to his mission.[94]

Jonathan Israel is sharply critical of Robespierre for repudiating the true values of the radical Enlightenment. He argues, “Jacobin ideology and culture under Robespierre was an obsessive Rousseauiste moral Puritanism steeped in authoritarianism, anti-intellectualism, and xenophobia, and it repudiated free expression, basic human rights, and democracy.”[95]

Robespierre has continued to fascinate biographers. Recent books in English include Colin Haydon and William Doyle’s Robespierre (1999), John Hardman’s Robespierre (1999), Ruth Scurr’s Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution, Otto J. Scott’s Robespierre: The Voice of Virtue (2011), and most recently Robespierre: A Revolutionary Life by Peter McPhee (2012).

During the October Revolution and Red Terror, Robespierre found ample praise in the Soviet Union, resulting in the construction of two statues of him: one in Saint Petersburg, and another in Moscow (the Robespierre Monument). The monument was commissioned by Vladimir Lenin, who referred to Robespierre as a “Bolshevik avant la lettre” or a “Bolshevik before his time”. Due to the poor construction of the monument (it was made of tubes and common concrete), it crumbled within three days of its unveiling and was never replaced.

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

And I know how Nicolas de Condorset must have felt, when he knew that people were coming to kill him.

I know that feeling well enough too.

SEE THIS TO UNDERSTAND BOTH MY ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT, AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CORRUPTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_75RzVfbAM&t=14s

And I know the feeling of surviving an assassination attempt.

I know the feeling of being a survivor too.

But there is some unfinished business that needs to be addressed.

SEE THIS TO UNDERSTAND BOTH MY ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT, AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CORRUPTION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_75RzVfbAM&t=14s

So, I am thinking now that if Nicolas, the Marquis De Condorset had been allowed to continue to live, and to be involved in the nasty Democratic process of his time — he would have been using his method of “collective intelligence” to improve our lives even further.

And he would have found crowd-sourcing solutions for our Republic, that go beyond the mathematical and political science support that he the gave us. Mind you his mathematical political science method is a boon for the governance of our Republic through the system of indirect Democracy that runs as “Government by the people, from the people, and for the people…” as Abraham Lincoln stated in the Gettysburg address, and as those wily Greeks fashioned some two thousand years ago — but much more can be done, and should be done.

Sadly, Nicolas did not survive the TERROR, but I did, and it is now up to my thinking and my scientific method for Mathematical Political Science to bear fruit for the people of this country and for all great Democratic Republics out there.

And I am dong this through my system that works for Politics, as well as it works for my “gaming” of the stock markets is easy … and diligently applied twelve steps. And this methodology helps me invest by deducing the expectant wishes of the people and then follow their estimations of how their brethren would have voted the stocks up or down…

And I’ve been making money through this method constantly over the last decade — better than anyone else, because I took the Condorset theorem to the next level, by combining the “Crowd-Wisdom” with the opinions of majority voting, where I ask people not only for their own decision, but also what proportion of people they think will agree with them if they were the winners.

This is far more instructive for my purposes, because it helps people focus on the afterdata, and the metadata, of their individual choices — and thus when all that information is combined — it makes for an even more accurate Political Science predictor of Elections, or of the movements of the Stock Market, etc…

The longer-term goal is to be able to produce good-to-right, estimates for questions without known, or well-defined answers.

The real test of this would be some important question like the one about the Existence of God.

Or maybe the one about the Purpose and the Meaning of Life.

Or other important questions, that should be something that we can define far better, and with appropriately certain results, such as the question of “Who’s going to win the next US presidential election?

Or for that matter, any elections thereof in any democratic poll… which is everything really.


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