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The Reign of Terror

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Explain why the French Revolution which seemingly began as a movement for equality and liberty developed into the Reign of Terror.

The Reign of Terror was a period in the French revolution characterised by brutal repression and executions which took place from 1793 to 1794. It was a time of bloodshed and murder, aimed to destroy counter revolutionaries and conspirators, and attack foreign enemies, which resulted in the deaths of around 20,000 to 40,000 people, and was viewed by Robespierre as an inevitable period to stabilise France.

The Reign of Terror was caused by the evolution of the French Revolution. The foreign attacks and counter revolutions further enhanced the French's protection of liberty and equality, caused great conspiracy and suspicion within the nation and the development of radical and extreme political groups of Frenchmen. The incapability, powerlessness and failure of the new government led to the growth of extreme Frenchmen who wanted their needs to be satisfied. These events occurred in the short three years, but completely changed the nature of the French Revolution, eventually leading to the Reign of Terror.

One of the causes was foreign war. The French Republic was proclaimed on 22nd September 1792, embracing new political ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity as outlined in the Declaration of the Rights of Man on 5th October, 1789. In order to firmly establish the new French Republic, the French Government

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