Reign of Terror Facts

Reign of Terror Facts
The Reign of Terror is a period of time in France during the French Revolution lasting from September 1793 to July 1794. During these ten months the number of people executed by the revolutionary cause using the guillotine reached over 16,000. Another 25,000 were executed across France in what are called 'summary executions' which involve being accused of a crime and executed without due justice. While the French Revolution managed to overthrow a corrupt government, it got out of control and executions and a climate of fear in France took over common sense and decency.
Interesting Reign of Terror Facts:
The Reign of Terror was essentially created by the radical leader of the revolution Maximilien de Robespierre.
The French Revolution began because the people of France wanted to end the monarchy, aristocracy, and the control of the church in their lives. It got out of control however under Maximilien de Robespierre, who pushed the revolution to the Reign of Terror that resulted in his own death in the guillotine.
The guillotine was set up at the Place de la Revolution in Paris, France. Today it is called Place de la Concorde.
The Guillotine was made of a wooden frame with a sharp blade. It was supposed to humane but because of its great efficiency it was used hundreds of times each day.
It is estimated that in the ten months of the Reign of Terror as many as 40,000 people in total were executed or were murdered.
The guillotine became known among the revolutionaries as the 'National Razor'.
During the Reign of Terror many high ranking members of France's elite were sent to the guillotine or otherwise executed including King Louis XVI, his wife Marie Antoinette, Louis Philippe II, Madame Roland, and the Girondins.
Prior to King Louis XVI's execution a vote was conducted. 361 voted to execute him while 288 voted against it.
Marie Antoinette is rumoured to have paid the executioner to ensure the blade was sharp. She paid with a purse full of gold coins. A sharp blade would ensure a quick and hopefully painless death.
King Louis XVI was recognized because his face as on coins. Had it not been so, he may have been able to flee the country with Marie Antoinette and avoid being executed.
It is believed that King Louis XVI had actually helped to improve the guillotine years before he was executed by the device.
The individual who had written a revolutionary constitution went into hiding once the Reign of Terror began. His name was Nicolas de Condorcet and once the people sheltering the counter-revolutionaries began to be executed he left his hiding place. He was recognized as an aristocrat and arrested when he ordered an omelette as only an aristocrat would. He killed himself in jail before they could send him to the guillotine.
In 1794 Maximilien de Robespierre was also captured and beheaded by those opposing him, at the National Convention.
The Reign of Terror ended when several of the main instigators, including Robespierre and Saint-Just, were executed.
Napoleon Bonaparte seized power, ending the French Revolution, in 1794.

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