Robspierre.docx - Robespierre During His Reign Rachel...

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Robespierre During His Reign Rachel McCann History 112 Mr. Puaca November 7, 2016
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In 1789, France was having problems due to the inherited debt from Louis XIV sparking a revolution between Parliament and the King. This revolt was known as the French Revolution. Many of the beliefs that motivated the revolution were enlightenment ideas. Some of those ideas included reason and individualism. The front runner for taking these ideas and applying them at this time was Maximilien Robespierre. Although people agree that Maximilien Robespierre was one of the most influential men of the French Revolution, many argue as to whether or not he truly reflected the enlightenment ideas due to his ties with the Reign of Terror. Using the ideas of Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Voltaire to guide him, Robespierre indeed reflected the Enlightenment ideas through his political, social, and religious views. To see how Robespierre reflected the enlightenment ideas, we must first understand what the French revolution was a fight for. It was a revolution for the citizens of France to have inalienable rights as well as the concept of popular sovereignty; ideas which originated from the enlightenment. In order to have both of these things, you must have a limited monarchy. The idea of a limited monarchy for France originated from the ideas of a man named Montesquieu. Montesquieu was an enlightenment thinker who is credited with the title of The Father of Modern Sociology. Robespierre was influenced by Montesquieu's ideas of limited monarchy therefore, he was a supporter of the revolution. The first move credited towards creating a limited monarchy in France was the creation of The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen which the king was forced to sign. The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen was a constitution to protect the civil rights of the people of France. Robespierre helped with the drafting of this constitution which included ideas of Montesquieu. Robespierre. Being one of the founders of this constitution, is a direct example of how Robespierre supported a democracy and revolution using ideas that originated during the enlightenment. Not long after this Declaration
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was written and signed, the King was put on trial for treason and found guilty. Upon being found guilty, they voted to execute him. Robespierre’s support of the execution of the king is another example in which we see him practicing the enlightenment ideas because this was another move toward a limited monarchy. We see Robespierre show his support for limited monarchy when he states, “What is the fundamental principle of democratic or popular government? It is the virtue, and I speak of that public virtue which performed such miracles in Greece and Rome and which is destined to perform even more astonishing miracles in republican France; of that virtue which is nothing other than love of one’s country and its laws.”
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