Jacobins, Robespierre, and the Guillotine

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Jacobins, Robespierre, and the Guillotine

Post  Mira W. on Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:46 pm

The execution of King Louis XVI marks the beginning of one of the darkest times in human history – the Reign of Terror. When France’s incapable king had been harshly executed in front of thousands of witnesses, people were adamant to make a complete change in their system. Soon after, the government collapsed and the most extremely radical group took its place, placing control into the hands of the Jacobins.

Maximillian Robespierre stepped up as leader of their newly formed Republic, a former member of the National Assembly. His Committee of Public Safety lead everyone to believe that their lives were only going to get better, for he manipulated all to believe his main goal was to protect the third estate. The committee’s name could have fooled anyone, but nevertheless they were the ones to later bring complete destruction to France’s society. Over 30,000 people lost their lives just because they dared have a negative opinion about the new regime.

These deaths were due to the Jacobins’ mentality. Unfortunately, they strongly believed that the only way to stop the injustice that had become the norm in their country over several centuries, was to kill all those who argued against them. However, after all the torture they have endured, these acts of murder must be quick, efficient, and painless. This lead to the rise of the guillotine, otherwise known as “The National Razor.”

It is estimated that bout 800 people were killed each month during the Reign of Terror. That is roughly 27 people a day, which means at least one person died every single hour of every single day! Often, you would be forced to watch your relatives have their heads chopped off before you yourself were executed. Those who were killed went without trial. Nobles usually tipped the executioner off so they died swiftly, but workers were more unfortunate. It is also debated whether or not the guillotine was truly painless, for some said that the head lived on for a few seconds after being separated from the body. Technically, since your spine would be broken and all nerves severed, you shouldn’t feel a thing. But what if people did feel their head’s being cut from their bodies, feel the blood gushing out -- what if they did die in such excruciating pain?

The chopped up heads would be cleaned and sometimes the women's hair would be curled and done neatly. They would be stuck on spears and presented to the population proudly, paraded around the streets. Witnessing executions become normal, and women were encouraged to bring their knitting and picnics to these events. Children had small, guillotine-lookalike toys that they used to chop off dolls' heads. Honestly, just take a moment to process that sentence. For me it is going too far - I am literally so horrified I am speechless...



What do you guys think? Do you believe it was truly painless? People become used to seeing death so much that they didn't even wince at the though. It made me wonder whether or not teens and children growing up today, who playing violent video games, would have similar reactions. Would they be able to sit and watch someone be killed by a guillotine?


(I didn't mean to offend anyone who plays video games, I was just writing my thoughts.)


Last edited by Mira W. on Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:00 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Mira W.
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Re: Jacobins, Robespierre, and the Guillotine

Post  Vasilisa on Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:21 am

Its horrible how people just went to watch how other people get killed. I think that now a days people get scared of death, while others think its the only solution they have.

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