The Writings of Robespierreby Maximilien Robespierre
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Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794) is one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. He largely dominated the Committee of Public Safety and was instrumental in the period of the Revolution commonly known as the Reign of Terror, which ended with his arrest and execution in 1794.
Robespierre was influenced by 18th-century Enlightenment philosophes such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu, and he was a capable articulator of the beliefs of the left-wing bourgeoisie. He was described as being physically unimposing yet immaculate in attire and personal manners. His supporters called him "The Incorruptible", while his adversaries called him dictateur sanguinaire (bloodthirsty dictator).
As an orator, he praised revolutionary government and argued that the Terror was necessary, laudable and inevitable. It was Robespierre's belief that the Republic and virtue were of necessity inseparable. He reasoned that the Republic could only be saved by the virtue of its citizens, and that the Terror was virtuous because it attempted to maintain the Revolution and the Republic. Therefore, "Robespierre didn’t see the use of terror as a compromise of virtue, but as the enforcement of it."
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