Publié le 09/02/2023
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Premiére Européenne History Geography
The French Revolution Part 2
A/ Robespierre and the start of the Terror:
February — August 1793
In the spring of 1793 Robespierre and the other deputies in the
Convention faced/ was faced with three major crises/ZIZ.
Crisis 1: War
Monarchs/K in other European countries were horrified by the execution
of Louis XVI.
They now realised that the only way to prevent/ stop the spread (la propagation) of revolution was to join forces with Prussia and Austria.
This alliance aimed to (avait pour but de) destroy the new French Republic.
The Convention in Paris decided to strike first (frapper en premier). It declared war on Britain and Holland and then on Spain.
By March 1793 France was at war with a number of powerful countries.
This soon proved disastrous (s’avérait désastreux) for France.
The French forces were defeated by the Austrians on France’s northeast border.
Robespierre and the other deputies in the convention feared (craignait) an invasion by France’s enemies. Crisis 2: Rebellion! At the beginning of March 1793, the Convention was horrified to hear of a rebellion in a remote (lontaine/ isolée) region in the west of France known as the Vendée.
The young men in the Vendée were opposed to the Convention’s use of conscription to force them into the French army. Conscription : when people are made to join the army, navy etc [= draft] 1 Many people in the Vendee were also angry at/about high taxes.
Some people wanted the return of their parish priests (curés) and of the monarchy/KI.
Tens of thousands of people, armed with guns, pitchforks (fourches) and sickles (faucilles), attacked the govemment’s soldiers and other republicans in the towns. Crisis 3: Food shortages! (pénuries alimentaires). In the first few months of 1793, food prices began to soar/rise sharply (monter en fléche).
In order to/to/in a bid to (afin de) pay for the war the convention had decided to print (imprimer) huge sums (énormes sommes) of paper money known as Assignats.
But as more more money was printed (fut imprimé) it became worth less and less.
We cal! this inflation.
Rapidly rising prices meant that ordinary people found it hard to afford food and other necessities (produits de premiére nécéssité)/the basic necessities/ the bare necessities of life = a lot of families cannot even afford to buy the basic necessities of life. Bread became particular!y hard to find as farmers did not want to sell their grain for worthless money (l’argent qui n’a plus de valeur)/money that wasn’t worth anything.
People began to question the point (utilité) of the revolution if the new French Republic could not provide enough food for its citizens (ne pouvait pas fournir suffisamment d’aliments pour ses citoyens).
On the streets of Pans the sans culottes were becoming more and more restless (commencérent à s’agiter). These crises led to a conflict (a entrainé un conflit) in the Convention between the radical Jacobins and the moderate Girondists.
At first, these two revolutionary groups had worked together.
But, in the spring of 1793, the Jacobins and the Girondists became bitterly divided.
The Girondists did not want to introduce price controls.
Nor did they share the Jacobin
view that property and wealth should be shared out equally among
the people (devraient être partagés équitablement entre les
.Robespierre, and other Jacobin leaders, blamed the Girondists for the
crises facing France (auxquelles faisait face la France).
The Jacobins argued (ont soutenuy que) that tougher and more
extreme policies (des politiques plus dure) were needed to save the
At the beginning of June 1793, the conflict between the Jacobins and the
Girondists came to a head (s’est empiré).
Robespierre urge (poussa/ exhorta) the sans-culottes, on the streets of Paris, to rise up against the Girondists.
On 2 June, 80,000 soldiers and sans culottes surrounded (ont entouré) the Convention and demanded (ont exigé) the arrest the Girondist deputies. Inside one of the Girondists shouted across at a Jacobin “Give him a glass of blood; he is thirsty”.
The Convention gave in to the demands of (cédérent aux demandes de) the sans culottes.
Robespierre and the Jacobins now controlled the Convention. In April 1793, the Convention formed a small group of deputies, called the Committee of Public Safety, to deal with the crises facing France.
At first the Girondists controlled this Committee, but from June 1793 the Jacobins were in charge (étaient au responsabilité.
France was now ruled by (dirigé par) this small group of men.
Robespierre joined the Committee of Public Safety in July.
Although there was no one leader of the Committee, Robespierre soon became its leading member.
The government of France was becoming a dictatorship (une dictature). Robespierre and the other members of the Committee of Public Safety now had the power to do anything they feit was necessary to defend the Revolution.
Robespierre said, “The only way to establish a republic is to utterly (complétement) destroy all opposition”.
France would now be governed by the guilotine. B/ Robespierre and the Terror: September — December 1793 Robespierre neyer doubted the need for Terror.
He believed that the great ideas of liberty and equality were threatened by/menaced with the enemies of the Revolution.
Drastic action was necessary, and Robespierre was prepared to pay the price in human lives. 1/Military Terror 3 The Committee of Public Safety knew that it had to take immediate action to protect the Revolution from foreign armies (armées étrangéres) and from rebellions within France.
On 23 August 1793 the Convention issued a decree known as the Levée en Masse. This forced all French people to take part in (prendre part à) the war effort: • Young, unmarried men were conscripted into the army. -Married men had to make weapons or to transport food. • Women were forced to make tents and clothes, or work in hospitals. • Children had to make bandages/IG • Old men were brought to public places to encourage the young men to fight. • Many men rushed to get married (se sont dépéchés) in order to avoid (éviter) conscription.
But anyone who did not obey the « Levée en Masse » was classed às a traitor (était considéré commme un traite) and could be executed. 2/Economic Terror The Committee of Public Safety also took drastic action to solve the crisis of high food prices.
Robespierre and some other deputies in the Convention did not want to set limits on (fixer des limites concernant) the price of food.
They thought that the government should not interfere with the economy in this way.
But on 5 September the hungry sans culottes invaded the Convention and forced the deputies to take action.
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