How to pronounce Robespierre

Maximilien de Robespierre

A statue by Robespierre, from 1791

Maximilien de Robespierre, in other words: Maximiliää dö Robspjäär, was a French politician. In the French Revolution, since 1789, he became particularly well known and powerful. He wanted to kill all people who he thought were enemies of the country. Eventually he himself was executed.

Robespierre was born in 1758. He lost his parents early. He was a particularly good student and studied law. As a lawyer, he felt that poor people should be helped. He campaigned for human rights and wanted, for example, that all children had the same rights, whether the parents were married or not. As a politician, he wanted to put his ideas into practice.

Today Robespierre thinks of the time during the French Revolution, when it was particularly cruel. Robespierre was considered the virtuous, the incorruptible, who lived modestly and wanted what he found “just”. In doing so, he showed no consideration for other people.

Nevertheless, there are still people today who are enthusiastic about Robespierre. Even a street in Paris is named after him. In the Soviet Union he was considered a great role model.

What was Robespierre doing in Parliament?

The Jacobin Club was something of a party. They met in an old monastery named after Saint Jacob. Robespierre became the leader of the Jacobins. The drawing shows a meeting of the Jacobins.

In 1789 he became a member of parliament. He was against the death penalty and against slavery in the colonies. In his opinion, all men should be able to vote in parliament, not just the rich. King Louis the Sixteenth should not be able to prevent laws. Such ideas were daring and radical back then.

After a break, Robespierre was again a member of parliament and then of government. In the meantime the country had become a republic. The former king had nothing more to do. At that time France was at war with Prussia and Austria.

Robespierre and other politicians feared that the former King Ludwig wanted to help foreign enemies. That is why they voted in parliament for Ludwig to be executed. A guillotine, in other words Gijo-Tiene, was used for this. Ludwig was killed with such a guillotine in 1793.

Now Robespierre saw only the people and enemies. He made sure that thousands of people were executed. This is called the time of the reign of terror, the reign of terror. More precisely, it means the nine weeks after a particularly strict law was passed. At that time they executed the equivalent of 20 people a day.

Why was Robespierre executed?

The guillotine execution of Robespierre and his friends

Eventually, many politicians and others felt that Robespierre was going too far. These politicians in parliament were also afraid that they would soon be executed themselves. In July 1794 they had Robespierre and his friends imprisoned for this reason. He was seriously injured in the process.

The new government set up a special court that condemned Robespierre and his friends. To do this, they used the same strict Robespierre law that applied during the nine weeks of terror. At that time Robespierre could no longer speak or defend himself.

That same evening Robespierre came under the guillotine, and then 23 of his followers. The next day, another 81 followers were executed. The people cheered. After that, France became more peaceful again.


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