Mademoiselle Guillotine In The French Revolution

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Register to read the introduction… This device is perhaps one of the most primitive forms of the guillotine seen in the revolution. The maiden, along with the Halifax gibbet, a similar invention, gradually gained popularity, being used in places such as Italy and Switzerland during the 15th century. However, it was not until the 1700's that these machines were altered and improved to become the modern guillotine. Named for Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, a French doctor and member of the Revolutionary National Assembly, he believed that the guillotine provided a previously unseen humane manner of execution. Prior to its usage, criminals typically hoped to be executed by an axe man or swordsman, which, in contrast to torturous deaths like being set on fire or broken on the wheel, gave relatively quick deaths. Yet, there was always the unlucky convict who received a deep chop in the shoulder because his executioner had bad aim or the convict who needed two hacks to break through his neck because the axe was not sharp enough. Because this was perceived by some as unjustifiably brutal, the guillotine was favored for its constant precision and heavy blade, which succeeded in severing the neck on its first fall. Soon enough, it became France's most popular manner of execution, also admired for the fact that it provided equal deaths for members of all different …show more content…
It was a time of great paranoia in which there was a constant fear of invasion by foreign monarchies as well as a counterrevolution by pro-monarchy parties. In overly cautious attempts at maintaining control, such leaders as Maximilien Robespierre ordered the execution of anyone suspected of "crimes against liberty." Thousands and thousands of people apparently committed this crime, for the guillotine's blade killed almost continually during the year. An estimated 15,000 to 40,000 people, ranging from commoners to nobility, lost their heads to the

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