PAPER_1_Final_Draft - Alexander Muhr HIST-104 I'm Innocent...

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Alexander Muhr 10/04/05 HIST-104 I’m Innocent! Testimony of a Guillotine Operator During The Terror Meet Francois Gris Poupon, a simple Frenchman during a time of extreme change and radical revolution. He had the unfortunate task of executing so called enemies of the revolution, which had turned from a Liberal one to a Radical version. The radical thoughts of people like Maximilien Robespierre and his contemporaries helped perpetuate fear and paranoia throughout the ruling minority during the Jacobin Dictatorship. Eventually this led to The Terror, where hundreds of thousands of citizens of France were executed on grounds exactly opposing the newly formed government sparked by the Enlightenment. Where we join Mr. Poupon is at his trial during the month of Thermidor, which is December according to the revolutionary calendar. Here he will try to justify his actions as the guillotine operator who helped lead hundreds of people to their deaths. Trial Date: 9 th of Thermidor, 1793 Testimony: Francois Gris Poupon Head Judge of the Tribunal: “Mr. Poupon, you were an integral part in the murder of hundreds of people during The Terror. I would like you to explain your actions and defend yourself for your role in these atrocities.” Francois Gris Poupon: “Yes, I was a guillotine operator that helped in the deaths of hundreds of people, but we need to understand the context in which these mass executions were not only condoned but imperative. “At first the revolution began as a relatively peaceful need for change from a 1
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Alexander Muhr 10/04/05 HIST-104 country that did not recognize the individual, but for a constitution. This all began when there was an outcry from The Third Estate, which lead to the formation of the National Assembly. But this new Assembly had limited participation to pretty much only the wealthy members of our society. Then as the impact of these new forms of media began to take hold such as newspapers, political clubs and public festivals, communication between people began to increase. “Early on Camille Desmoulins and Jean-Paul Marat became the voice for the radical revolutionaries 1 in the press. Due to the new Liberal revolution, they were able to express things that were never before allowed in public media. Then, in November of 1789 the Society of Friends of the Constitution formed but it became better known as the Jacobin Club because they met in a former Jacobin Order church. 2
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This essay was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course HIST 104g taught by Professor Accampo during the Fall '06 term at USC.

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PAPER_1_Final_Draft - Alexander Muhr HIST-104 I'm Innocent...

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