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Several historians consider the "reign of terror" to have begun in 1793, placing the starting date at either 5 September, There was a sense of emergency among leading politicians in France in the summer of 1793 between the widespread civil war and counter-revolution.Bertrand Barère exclaimed on 5 September 1793 in the Convention: "Let's make terror the order of the day!However, at this point, the war was only Prussia and Austria against France.
This was a revolt against the revolution otherwise called a counter-revolution. Eventually, Napoleon Bonaparte rose to be the emperor of France.
The Reign of Terror, or The Terror (French: la Terreur), refers to a period during the French Revolution after the First French Republic was established in which multiple massacres and public executions occurred in response to revolutionary fervor, anti-clerical sentiment, and frivolous accusations of treason by Maximilien Robespierre and his Committee of Public Safety.
Rousseau's Social Contract argued that each person was born with rights, and they would come together to form a government that would then protect those rights.
Under the social contract, the government was required to act for the general will, which represented the interests of everyone rather than a few factions.
Robespierre believed that the virtue needed for any democratic government was extremely lacking in the French people.
As a result, he decided to weed out those he believed could never possess this virtue. The Convention used this as justification for the course of action to "crush the enemies of the revolution, ... and let liberty be saved." These members of the Enlightenment movement greatly influenced revolutionary leaders; however, cautions from other Enlightenment thinkers were blatantly ignored.While the French military had stabilized and was producing victories by the time the Reign of Terror officially began, the pressure to succeed in this international struggle acted as justification for the government to pursue its tyrannical actions.It was not until after the execution of Louis XVI and the annexation of the Rhineland that the other monarchies began to feel threatened enough to form the First Coalition.The Terror took the lives of between 18,500 to 40,000 people.Robespierre died due to the Thermidorian Reaction against the Jacobins.Robespierre's ideology was not strictly derived from Rousseau.The writings of another Enlightenment thinker of the time, Baron de Montesquieu, greatly influenced Robespierre.On 17 July 1794, sixteen nuns attracted much attention by singing a religious song as they were being executed for treason.The Terror ended ten days later, when several important leaders of the Reign of Terror were executed, including Saint-Just and Robespierre.Those who resisted the government were deemed "tyrants" fighting against the virtue and honor of the general will.The leaders felt their ideal version of government was threatened from the inside and outside of France, and terror was the only way to preserve the dignity of the Republic created from French Revolution.