Robespierre was one of the most radical leftists among the French Revolutionaries. And like any good revolutionary, his overthrown hinged on tyranny and violence.
> In early June 1792, Robespierre proposed an end to the monarchy and the subordination of the Assembly to the popular will. > In September, Robespierre was elected first deputy for Paris to the National Convention. > Robespierre would not settle for a moderate Revolution, arguing, “Citizens, do you want a revolution without a revolution? What is this spirit of persecution which has directed itself against those who freed us from chains?” > Not content with ending the monarchy’s power, Robespierre was the fiercest advocate for the execution of Louis XVI, arguing, “…neither prison, nor exile can render his existence inconsequential to public happiness; this cruel exception to the ordinary laws avowed by justice can be imputed only to the nature of his crimes. With regret I pronounce this fatal truth: Louis must die so that the nation may live.”
> Following the King’s death, with infighting among the Revolutionaries and insurrection from royalists, Robespierre’s tribe seized power and instituted the Reign of Terror. > Terror was formally instituted as a legal policy by the Convention on 5 September 1793 in a proclamation that read, “It is time that equality bore its scythe above all heads. It is time to horrify all the conspirators. So legislators, place Terror on the order of the day! Let us be in revolution, because everywhere counter-revolution is being woven by our enemies. The blade of the law should hover over all the guilty.” > In Report on the Principles of Political Morality of 5 February 1794, Robespierre praised the revolutionary government and argued that terror and virtue were necessary: “If virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country … The government in a revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny.” > This attitude led to the violence of the Reign of Terror, the victims of which totaled somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 (over the span of one calendar year).
> The deChristianization of France which included (some of which Robespierre played a part in, see below): > Declaring that all church property in France belonged to the nation, confiscations were ordered and church properties were sold at public auction. > In July 1790, the National Constituent Assembly published the Civil Constitution of the Clergy that stripped clerics of their special rights — the clergy were to be made employees of the state, elected by their parish or bishopric, and the number of bishoprics was to be reduced — and required all priests and bishops to swear an oath of fidelity to the new order or face dismissal, deportation or death. > In September 1792, the Legislative Assembly legalized divorce, contrary to Catholic doctrine. At the same time, the State took control of the birth, death, and marriage registers away from the Church > In Paris, over a forty-eight-hour period beginning on 2 September 1792, as the Legislative Assembly (successor to the National Constituent Assembly) dissolved into chaos, three Church bishops and more than two hundred priests were massacred by angry mobs; this constituted part of what would become known as the September Massacres. > Priests were among those drowned in mass executions (noyades) for treason under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Carrier; priests and nuns were among the mass executions at Lyons, for separatism, on the orders of Joseph Fouché and Collot d'Herbois. Hundreds more priests were imprisoned and made to suffer in abominable conditions in the port of Rochefort. > destruction of statues, plates and other iconography from places of worship, destruction of crosses, bells and other external signs of worship > Many of the acts of dechristianization in 1793 were motivated by the seizure of church gold and silver to finance the war effort. > In November 1793, the département council of Indre-et-Loire abolished the word dimanche (English: Sunday). The Gregorian calendar, an instrument decreed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, was replaced by the French Republican Calendar which abolished the sabbath, saints’ days and any references to the Church. The seven-day week became ten days instead. > Anti-clerical parades were held, and the Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Gobel, was forced to resign his duties and made to replace his mitre with the red "Cap of Liberty. > the institution of revolutionary and civic cults, including the Cult of Reason and subsequently the Cult of the Supreme Being (spring 1794) > the enactment of a law on 21 October 1793 making all nonjuring priests and all persons who harbored them liable to death on sight. > Accordingly, on 7 May 1794, Robespierre supported a decree passed by the Convention that established an official religion, known historically as the Cult of the Supreme Being (the notion of the Supreme Being was based on ideas that Jean-Jacques Rousseau had outlined in The Social Contract). > The official nationwide Fête de la Raison, supervised by Hébert and Momoro on 20 Brumaire, Year II (10 November 1793) came to epitomize the new republican way of religion. In ceremonies devised and organised by Chaumette, churches across France were transformed into modern Temples of Reason. The largest ceremony of all was at the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. > The Christian altar was dismantled and an altar to Liberty was installed and the inscription "To Philosophy” was carved in stone over the cathedral’s doors.
> Festive girls in white Roman dress and tricolor sashes milled around a costumed Goddess of Reason who “impersonated Liberty”. A flame burned on the altar which was symbolic of truth. To avoid statuary and idolatry, the Goddess figures were portrayed by living women, and in Paris the role was played by Momoro’s own wife Sophie, who is said to have dressed “provocatively”. [They essentially paraded a whore around the cathedral and worshiped her]. > At
Festival of the Supreme Being
(which took place on the day of Pentecost), Robespierre gave a speech: “Is it not He whose immortal hand, engraving on the heart of man the code of justice and equality, has written there the death sentence of tyrants? Is it not He who, from the beginning of time, decreed for all the ages and for all peoples liberty, good faith, and justice? He did not create kings to devour the human race. He did not create priests to harness us, like vile animals...”
> Robespierre, like his modern Progressive descendants, had a Deity and a religion, and imposed his faith ruthlessly. At this festival, “he was able to speak of the things about which he was truly passionate, including Virtue and Nature, typical deist beliefs, and, of course, his disagreements with atheism… many other leaders involved in the festival agreed that Robespierre had taken things too far. Multiple sources state that Robespierre came down the mountain in a way that resembled Moses as the leader of the people…”
After more intrigue among the Revolutionaries, Robespierre fell out of favor and like the tens of thousands that he had guillotined under his Reign of Terror, Robespierre got the blade himself, on this day (July 28th) in the Year of our Lord 1794.
Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends. - Psalm 17
But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you. - Psalm 55