Author

Maximilien Robespierre cover

photo credits: CC-PD-Mark

Maximilien Robespierre

French revolutionary lawyer and politician

1758   -   1794

country of citizenship: France
native language: French
language of expression: French, Italian
educated at: Lycée Louis-le-Grand
occupation: politician, lawyer, journalist, revolutionary
award received: Concours général
position held: member of the French National Assembly

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 who was one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. As a member of the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, he campaigned for universal manhood suffrage, and the abolition both of celibacy for the clergy and of slavery. Robespierre was an outspoken advocate for the citizens without a voice, for their unrestricted admission to the National Guard, to public offices, and for the right to carry arms in self-defence. He played an important part in the agitation which brought about the fall of the French monarchy in August 1792 and the summoning of a National Convention.As one of the leading members of the insurrectionary Paris Commune, Robespierre was elected as a deputy to the French Convention in early September 1792, but was soon criticised for trying to establish either a triumvirate or a dictatorship. In Spring 1793, after the treason of Dumouriez, he urged the creation of a "Sans-culotte army" to sweep away any conspirator. In July he was appointed as a member of the powerful Committee of Public Safety.Robespierre is best known for his role during the "Reign of Terror", during which he exerted his influence to suppress the Girondins to the right, the Hébertists to the left and the Dantonists in the centre. Robespierre was eventually brought down by his obsession with the vision of an ideal republic and his indifference to the human costs of installing it. The Terror ended with Robespierre's arrest on 9 Thermidor and his execution on the day after, events that initiated a period known as the Thermidorian Reaction.Robespierre's personal responsibility for the excesses of the Terror remains the subject of intense debate among historians of the French Revolution. For some, Robespierre was the incarnation of Terror during Year II (of the French Revolutionary calendar); for others, he was its principal ideologist and embodies the country's first democratic experience, marked by the French Constitution of 1793.
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