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Thu Mar 1, 2012, 09:56 PM

Was the Terror necessary to defend the French Revolution?

I'm just curious, do you all think that the Reign of Terror was a necessary to protect the Republic during the French Revolution? I've heard several people argue that without the Terror, the revolution would have failed, but of course others disagree. What do you all think? I came across this video by a philosophizer Slavo Zizek where he defends it a necessary.

[link:|

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Reply Was the Terror necessary to defend the French Revolution? (Original post)
white_wolf Mar 2012 OP
fladem2006 Mar 2012 #1
JDPriestly Apr 2012 #2
bemildred Apr 2012 #3
Matilda Apr 2012 #4
bemildred Apr 2012 #5
JackRiddler Apr 2012 #6
Rittermeister May 2012 #8
JackRiddler May 2012 #9
bemildred Apr 2012 #7
Odin2005 May 2012 #10

Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sat Mar 3, 2012, 01:06 PM

1. Sorry, but I think....

The whole thing got too carried away. After a while, it was being used to settle scores that had nothing to do with the true meaning of the revolution. If you look at what happened in other countries, i.e. Iran the same thing always happens. The US was different.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 04:59 AM

2. I don't think that it was necessary for the terror

to be so horrible. The French monarchy, however, was overly reluctant to respect the natural rights of ordinary people. The effects of the reign of terror were devastating to the country -- just horrible and, as we know, the whole thing ended with Napoleon and a France with an unstable government for a long, long time.

So, I don't think the terror was necessary. I don't know whether the French could have ended the monarchy through strictly peaceful means. Nonviolence was not given a chance -- by either the nobility or the ordinary people.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Tue Apr 3, 2012, 09:08 AM

3. "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is

power." ~ George Orwell 1984

I think he is quite wrong. The terror destroyed the revolution, as it always will. Terror is the tool of tyrants. (How's that for alliteration?) When you resort to terror, you tell everyone exactly what your intentions are.

Even if one accepts surgical metaphors for "cleansing" violence, which I don't, it is always a risky business that ought to be minimized or avoided altogether, and one certainly cannot say that of Robespierre and his associates.

I do like Mr. Zizek, he is an interesting guy.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Wed Apr 4, 2012, 10:44 PM

4. I think the removal of the French Royal Family was necessary for the success of the Revolution,

however unpleasant it may have been.

But it so often happens that those who rise up to replace a tyrannical regime end up becoming as bad, or even worse, than the regime they replace. Oliver Cromwell, Josef Stalin, Robert Mugabe, etc., etc. And Danton and Robespierre can be included in that group.

Something about human nature Few seem to know when they've achieved what they set out to do and voluntarily step aside.

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Response to Matilda (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 5, 2012, 10:28 AM

5. Yep, it's always about becoming the emperor yourself, never about destroying the empire.

But somehow they manage to destroy it in two or three generations anyway.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Thu Apr 19, 2012, 11:15 PM

6. Mark Twain on "the two terrors"

 

"There were two 'Reigns of Terror', if we could but remember and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passions, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon a thousand persons, the other upon a hundred million; but our shudders are all for the "horrors of the... momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty and heartbreak? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief terror that we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror - that unspeakable bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves."

http://www.newint.org/easier-english/terror/twain.html

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #6)

Fri May 4, 2012, 03:57 PM

8. Mr. Twain is wrong

Would I have been first in line to chop off Louis XVI's head? Yes. Was the glut of paranoid violence unleashed by Robespierre called for? Absolutely not. He wasn't protecting the republic, he was off his nut.

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Response to Rittermeister (Reply #8)

Sat May 5, 2012, 07:27 PM

9. You're oversimplifying.

 

France was under attack by a united front of monarchist powers led by Austria and intent on restoring the French exile nobles to power. They would have conducted a terror of their own, murdering indiscriminately among the revolutionaries and lower classes. They had help within France, starting with the King. This was naturally a paranoid time. I condemn the Jacobins not merely for going too far but for using the Terror as an instrument of their own politics against women and other revolutionary groups, not just to the right but also to the left of them. This had little to do with Ropesbierre being "off his nut," by the way. Nevertheless, the war policies of the Jacobins, including the levee en masse and the terror as directed against the royalists and those who truly were opposing the revolution, succeeded in turning around the war and saving France from an absolutist restoration.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)


Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun May 6, 2012, 09:06 PM

10. "necessary" is irrelevant, the Terror was MORALLY WRONG, period.

The ends do no justify the means.

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