The France Revolution 8

The France Revolution Part VIII


According to militarynous, the most rigid external and internal constraints replaced the principle of economic freedom of the Constituent and Gironde: all economic life was regulated from above: the maximum was imposed. on the price of grain and on wages; the forced course was given to the assigned; the stock exchange was closed; the death penalty was threatened to the hoarders, imports and exports were regulated. Small ownership was favored in agricultural policy: emigrant goods (June 3) and state property (June 10) were sold in small lots, and the final blow was given to feudal rights (July 17). For the defense of the revolution, the General Security Committee was set up, a terrible law on suspicions was promulgated, the subjects of enemy states were arrested, the queen (October 16) and the Girondins (October 3) were sent to death. As the provinces rebelled to avenge the Girondins, and Toulon even handed itself over to the English, the Committee of Public Health reaffirmed the central power in the administration by sending representatives on mission first, then national agents, who re-established order with dictatorial measures and often with cruelty. The freedom of the press and worship disappeared, including the constitutional clergy, and the new calendar was proclaimed (October) and the cult of the Goddess Reason (November). But the greatest work of the Public Health Committee was the organization of the war. Danton had tried diplomatic forms and tried to break the coalition, but he was considered a man of outdated mentality and replaced by Robespierre on July 27, 1793. War measures were then accelerated. On 23 August, the mass conscription of celibates aged 18 to 25 was decreed; 14 armies were organized, and their provisioning was thought out in an admirable way; the whole nation was mobilized; munitions and weapons factories were created; war was conceived as a moral phenomenon and the spirit of the soldier was cured; the discoveries of the technicians were put to good use. All this stupendous work, the first example of a modern organization of warfare, was the work of two men of frenzied activity, Carnot and Prieur Duvernois.

In this way 1793 ends with a series of victories on all fronts: Houchard defeats the English at Hondschoote (September), Jourdan defeats the Austrians at Wattignies and frees Maubeuge from the siege, Hoche conquers the lines of Weissemburg, Savoy it is resumed, the Spaniards are driven back beyond the Pyrenees, Lyon and Toulon are conquered; the Vendeans, who had dared to cross the Loire, are defeated at Le Mans (12-13 December) by Marceau and Kléber.

Inside Robespierre, arbiter of the situation, meanwhile fought for his particular revolutionary ideal against two fractions, which he believed to represent two harmful extremes, that of Danton, who wanted a return to normality, that of Hébert, who tended to de-Christianization of France and it was completely at the mercy of the Parisian masses. With Danton’s help, he got rid of Hébert, who was impeached on the 18th and guillotined on March 24th 1794, then attacked Danton to death on April 5th. On 7 May he had the cult of the Supreme Body proclaimed and on 10 June the faculty to accuse the members of the Convention without the permission of the assembly. But in the very act that celebrated his triumph, Robespierre dug an abyss under his feet and the circumstances that had imposed the dictatorial regime disappeared. At the same time the Convention feared him as he was the mediator between it and the Paris Commune: the death of Hébert and the provision against the Convention took away from him all favor with both powers and isolates him, while he believed he was having reached the pinnacle of power. In time the nation had suffered it as it had prepared for victory, but now its mission was over: the battle of Fleurus opened up Belgium again to France (June 26) and the success of the war was sure to be guaranteed. Tired of his tyranny, Convention moderates and terrorists united against Robespierre (July 27-28) and sent him to the guillotine with his friends.

Meanwhile Belgium and Holland were conquered and the Rhine was seeing the French again. The coalition fell apart thanks to Barthélemy, who concluded peace with Prussia (April 5-6, 1795) and with Spain (July 22, 1795) in Basel. Holland, which had become a Batavian Republic, paid a hundred thousand florins in indemnity with the Hague peace, which came to raise the finances a little (May 16, 1795).

The France Revolution 8