The Reign Of Terror: Was It Justified?
In the town of Niort, a government official contacted the National Convention, writing that “the crowd is continuing to gather” even though there were “three thousand national guardsmen in the region to establish order” (Doc D). This was the case in much of France - people gathered to protest the violent actions made by the government. However, in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, it states that the aim of the government is to protect a citizen’s natural rights. Among these rights is “resistance to oppression” (Doc A). As the government continued to kill innocent people, terror grew among the citizens of France. They realized that even the slightest criticism of the revolutionary government was enough to send them to the guillotine. The French government saw enemies everywhere. They believed that anyone who disagreed with the government was conspiring against the Revolution, and was therefore committing treason. Throughout the Reign of Terror, the government imposed new laws, such as the levée en masse, which was a mandatory military draft. Many French citizens rebelled against the draft (Doc C). Additionally, France’s primary enemies, Prussia and Austria, sent armies to try to reinstate the monarchy so that revolution would not spread to their countries. Because no one wanted to fight in this war, the levée en masse was imposed (Doc C). Because of the backlash against this law and the counterrevolution in the Vendée region of France, the government began to create harsher punishments for what they considered to be treason. As many as 40,000 people were killed during the Reign of Terror, including the king, Louis XVI, and his wife, Marie Antoinette. However, most of the victims of the Reign of Terror were peasants, the very people the French Revolution was intended to help. The picture