Category Archives: Bourgeois Revolutionaries

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia on Benjamin Franklin

BenFranklinDuplessis

Franklin, Benjamin

Born Jan. 17, 1706, in Boston; died Apr. 17, 1790, in Philadelphia. American educator, statesman, and scientist.

The son of a craftsman of modest means, Franklin went to work at the age of ten, at first in his father’s shop and later in his older brother’s printing shop. In 1723 he moved to Philadelphia; the following year he went to London and remained there until 1726. In 1727 he founded his own printing business in Philadelphia. Devoting his free time to self-education, Franklin became one of the most educated men of his day. He published The Pennsylvania Gazette from 1729 to 1748 and Poor Richard’s Almanac from 1732 to 1758. In Philadelphia, Franklin founded the first circulating library in the English colonies (1731), the American Philosophical Society (1743), and the Academy for the Education of Youth (1751), which was the forerunner of the University of Pennsylvania. From 1737 to 1753 he was deputy postmaster of Pennsylvania, and from 1753 to 1774 deputy postmaster general for all the North American colonies. Franklin was one of the initiators of the first congress of colonial representatives (the Albany Congress, 1754), to which he proposed a plan for uniting the colonies. From 1757 to 1775 (except for 1762–65), he represented the colonies in London.

Shortly after the American Revolution began, Franklin returned to his homeland. He was chosen a member of the Second Continental Congress and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. From 1776 to 1785, Franklin was an envoy in Paris, where he vigorously promoted the international interests of the USA. He was instrumental in concluding a treaty of alliance with France (1778) and the Peace Treaty of Versailles (1783), whereby Great Britain recognized the independence of the USA. In 1785, Franklin was chosen president of the executive council of Pennsylvania, and in 1787 he was a member of the Constitutional Convention that drew up the US Constitution.

The foundation of Franklin’s political views was the belief in man’s natural and inalienable right to life, liberty, and property. Believing that the consent of the people is the foundation of the state, he sanctioned the people’s right to rise up when the government violates this understanding. Franklin originally favored the independence of the colonies within the British Empire, but after the revolutionary movement developed, he favored the separation of the colonies from the mother country and the declaration of political independence. At the time of writing the Constitution, Franklin upheld the principle of the federation of all the states while retaining a broad range of states’ rights; he opposed an expanded executive power and favored general suffrage not restricted by property qualification. Franklin was strongly opposed to slavery.

In the area of political economy, Franklin was opposed to the prevailing mercantilist theory and advocated the economic view of the Physiocrats. A half century before A. Smith, he formulated the labor theory of value, becoming, in the words of K. Marx, “one of the first economists who . . . discerned the true nature of value” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23, p. 60, footnote).

In his philosophical views, Franklin was a deist. He contrasted the idea of natural religion, in which the role of god is reduced to the act of creating the world, to orthodox religious dogma; he regarded motion as an immanent property of matter. Franklin’s ethical views were based on the idea of the natural, utilitarian character of morality, which should be free from religious sanction.

As a scientist, Franklin’s attention was drawn to the most diverse phenomena of nature. He collected extensive data on gale winds (northeasters) and proposed a theory to explain their origin. Franklin was one of the first to study the velocity, dimensions, and course of the Gulf Stream, which he named. However, Franklin’s major field of study was physics. His letters to P. Collinson, a fellow of the Royal Society of London, who published them at his own expense,were of great help in disseminating throughout Europe Franklin’s ideas about various aspects of physics. Franklin measured the heat conductivity of various materials, studied the phenomena of liquid cooling during evaporation, and researched the movement of sound in water and air.

Franklin’s work with electricity from 1747 to 1753 was his most important scientific achievement. Franklin explained the principle of operation of the Leyden jar, establishing the decisive role played by the dielectric that separates the conducting plates. He introduced the accepted designation of electrically charged states as + (positive) and(negative) and developed the unitary theory (“single fluid” theory) of electrical phenomena, which is based on an assumption of the existence of a single electrical substance, a deficiency or surplus of which determines the charge sign of a body. Franklin performed a great service in establishing the identity of atmospheric and static electricity and proving the electrical nature of lightning. After discovering that metal points connected with the ground reduce the electrical charges from charged bodies even without contact with them, Franklin proposed an efficient method of protection from lightning—the lightning rod.

Franklin was also responsible for a number of other technical inventions, including lamps for street lights, the economical Franklin stove, a special musical instrument, Franklin’s electrical machine, which revolves under the influence of electrostatic forces, and the use of an electric spark to ignite powder.

Franklin’s scientific achievements brought him widespread international recognition. He was elected an honorary member of a number of foreign academies and societies, including the Russian Academy of Sciences (1789).

WORKS

The Writings, vols. 1–10. New York, 1905–07.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizv. Moscow, 1956.
In Amerikanskie prosvetiteli, vol. 1. Moscow, 1968.
Opyty i nabliudeniia nad elektrichestvom. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from English.)

REFERENCES

Radovskii, M. I. B. Franklin. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Gol’dberg, N. M. Svobodomyslie i ateizm v SShA (XVII–XIX vv.). Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Van Doren, C. Benjamin Franklin. New York, 1938.
Crane, V. W. Benjamin Franklin and a Rising People. Boston, 1954.

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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia on Alexander Hamilton

Alexander_Hamilton_portrait_by_John_Trumbull_1806

Hamilton, Alexander

Born Jan. 11, 1757, on the island of Nevis; died July 12, 1804, in New York. US statesman.

During the War of Independence (1775-83), Hamilton became famous as an orator and journalist. From 1776 to 1781 he served in the army, and he was a secretary of G. Washington. In 1789 he was the leader of the Federalist Party. He favored a constitutional monarchy based on the English model. From 1789 to 1795, Hamilton was secretary of the treasury. He advocated a centralized government that would foster the development of a capitalistic economy. Hamilton’s research on the problems of value, money, and cost had a major influence on the further development of a bourgeois political economy in the USA. Oriented towards Great Britain in foreign policy, Hamilton, like other Federalist leaders,promoted the conclusion of an Anglo-American treaty that was not fair to the USA (the Jay Treaty).

WORKS

The Works of Alexander Hamilton, vols. 1-7. Edited by J. C. Hamilton. New York, 1851-52.

REFERENCES

Al’ter, L. B. Burzhuaznaia politicheskaia ekonomiia SShA. Moscow, 1961. Pages 61-75.
Schachner, N. A. Hamilton. New York-London, 1946.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia on George Washington

Gilbert_Stuart_Williamstown_Portrait_of_George_Washington

Washington, George

Born Feb. 22, 1732, near Bridges Creek, Virginia; died Dec. 14, 1799, in Mount Vernon. American statesman, commander in chief of the American Army during the War of Independence in North America (1775-83), and first president ofthe USA (1789-97).

Washington was born into the family of a rich planter and slave owner. At the age of 15 he finished his education, and at the age of 16 he began to work as a surveyor. In 1751 he inherited the large estate of Mount Vernon and becameshareholder in the Ohio Company, which speculated in lands seized from the Indians. At the same time, Washington received the rank of major and was appointed the commander of one of the four districts of the Virginia militia. In 1755 he took part in the unsuccessful expedition to the French fort of Duquesne. At the beginning of the Seven Years’ War (1756-63), Washington, now a colonel, commanded the troops of Virginia. In 1759 he resigned. As a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and judge of Fairfax County, Washington actively protested against the British government’s policy of limiting trade and industry in the colonies.

In 1774, Washington was elected to the First Continental Congress and in 1775 to the Second Continental Congress. At the very beginning of the war for independence of the English colonies in North America (a bourgeois revolution), the congress chose Washington as commander in chief of the rebel armed forces (June 15, 1775). In this position Washington displayed high moral qualities, courage, determination, and talent as a military leader and organizer. The congress repeatedly gave Washington broad and even dictatorial powers. Washington enjoyed popularity among the popular masses whose struggle made possible the triumph of the revolution. At the end of the war a group of reactionary officers organized a monarchical conspiracy and offered Washington the crown. He rejected this proposition. After the end of the war Washington retired to his estate. In the years 1786-87, Washington headed the reactionary forces which crushed the democratic movement of poor farmers and artisans under the leadership of D. Shays (Shays’ Rebellion). In 1787, under Washington’s chairmanship, the Constitution of the USA was drafted. With certain changes this constitution is still in effect today. In 1789, Washington was elected the first president of the USA (reelected in 1792). Carrying out a conservative policy, Washington opposed the democratic demands of the popular masses, consolidating only those achievements of the revolution which were necessary to the bourgeoisie and the planters. Although he included both Federalists and their opponent T. Jefferson in his cabinet, Washington nevertheless supported and in fact headed the Federalists with their centralizing and anglophile tendencies. Washington was one of the founders of the two-party system of the USA. He welcomed the beginning of the Great French Revolution, but its subsequent development frightened him. After the outbreak of war between revolutionary France and the European coalition in 1793, Washington refused to fulfill the obligations which the USA had as an ally, according to the French Alliance of 1778. Later,Washington favored American refusal to participate in alliances of and wars between the European states. Washington supported the inequitable treaty with Great Britain (the so-called Jay’s Treaty) concluded in 1794 which caused much indignation in the USA and undermined Washington’s popularity. Washington spent the last years of his life in Mount Vernon. He was a proponent of the gradual abolition of slavery, and in his will he freed all slaves belonging to him personally.

Washington has gone down in history as a progressive figure, since he occupied a consistent position on the most important issue of the American bourgeois revolution of the 18th century—the struggle for independence of the colonies. At the same time, he remained a representative of the interests of the propertied classes, and in this lies Washington’s limitation: he was a bourgeois revolutionary.

WORKS

The Writings, vols. 1-14. New York, 1889-93.
The Diaries, 1748-1799, vols. 1-4. New York [1925].

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “Pis’mo k amerikanskim rabochim.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 37.
Ocherki novoi i noveishei istorii SShA, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960. (Contains a bibliography.)
Efimov, A. V. SShA: Puti razvitiia kapitalizma. Moscow, 1969.
Fursenko, A. A. Amerikanskaia burzhuaznaia revoliutsiia XVIII v. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.
Iuzefovich, I. S. Dzhordzh Vashington i bor’ba za nezavisimost’ Ameriki. Moscow, 1941. (Contains a bibliography.)
Hughes, R. George Washington, vols. 1-3. New York, 1926-30. (Contains a bibliography.)

A. V. EFIMOV

Maximilien de Robespierre on Terror and the French Revolution

Robespierre

TERROR IS JUSTIFIED

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. Is force only intended to protect crime? Is not the lightning of heaven made to blast vice exalted?

The law of self-preservation, with every being whether physical or moral, is the first law of nature. … The protection of government is only due to peaceable citizens; and all citizens in the republic are republicans. The royalists, the conspirators, are strangers, or rather enemies. Is not this dreadful contest, which liberty maintains against tyranny, indivisible? Are not the internal enemies the allies of those in the exterior? The assassins who lay waste the interior; the intriguers who purchase the consciences of the delegates of the people: the traitors who sell them; the mercenary libellants paid to dishonor the cause of the people, to smother public virtue, to fan the flame of civil discord, and bring about a political counter revolution by means of a moral one; all these men, are they less culpable or less dangerous than the tyrants whom they serve?

Source: M. Robespierre, “On the Principles of Political Morality” (1794)

This great purity of the French revolution’s basis, the very sublimity of its objective, is precisely what causes both our strength and our weakness. Our strength, because it gives to us truth’s ascendancy over imposture, and the rights of the public interest over private interests; our weakness, because it rallies all vicious men against us, all those who in their hearts contemplated despoiling the people and all those who intend to let it be despoiled with impunity, both those who have rejected freedom as a personal calamity and those who have embraced the revolution as a career and the Republic as prey. … The two opposing spirits that have been represented in a struggle to rule nature might be said to be fighting in this great period of human history to fix irrevocably the world’s destinies, and France is the scene of this fearful combat. Without, all the tyrants encircle you; within, all tyranny’s friends conspire; they will conspire until hope is wrested from crime. We must smother the internal and external enemies of the Republic or perish with it; now in this situation, the first maxim of your policy ought to be to lead the people by reason and the people’s enemies by terror.

Society owes protection only to peaceable citizens; the only citizens in the Republic are the republicans. For it, the royalists, the conspirators are only strangers or, rather, enemies. This terrible war waged by liberty against tyranny- is it not indivisible? Are the enemies within not the allies of the enemies without? The assassins who tear our country apart, the intriguers who buy the consciences that hold the people’s mandate; the traitors who sell them; the mercenary pamphleteers hired to dishonor the people’s cause, to kill public virtue, to stir up the fire of civil discord, and to prepare political counterrevolution by moral counterrevolution-are all those men less guilty or less dangerous than the tyrants whom they serve?

Source: M. Robespierre, “On the Moral and Political Principles of Domestic Policy” (1794)

THE GOALS OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

What is the end of our revolution? The tranquil enjoyment of liberty and equality; the reign of that eternal justice, the laws of which are graven, not on marble or stone, but in the hearts of men, even in the heart of the slave who has forgotten them, and in that of the tyrant who disowns them.

We wish that order of things where all the low and cruel passions are enchained, all the beneficent and generous passions awakened by the laws; where ambition subsists in a desire to deserve glory and serve the country: where distinctions grow out of the system of equality, where the citizen submits to the authority of the magistrate, the magistrate obeys that of the people, and the people are governed by a love of justice; where the country secures the comfort of each individual, and where each individual prides himself on the prosperity and glory of his country; where every soul expands by a free communication of republican sentiments, and by the necessity of deserving the esteem of a great people: where the arts serve to embellish that liberty which gives them value and support, and commerce is a source of public wealth and not merely of immense riches to a few individuals.

We wish in our country that morality may be substituted for egotism, probity for false honour, principles for usages, duties for good manners, the empire of reason for the tyranny of fashion, a contempt of vice for a contempt of misfortune, pride for insolence, magnanimity for vanity, the love of glory for the love of money, good people for good company, merit for intrigue, genius for wit, truth for tinsel show, the attractions of happiness for the ennui of sensuality, the grandeur of man for the littleness of the great, a people magnanimous, powerful, happy, for a people amiable, frivolous and miserable; in a word, all the virtues and miracles of a Republic instead of all the vices and absurdities of a Monarchy.

We wish, in a word, to fulfill the intentions of nature and the destiny of man, realize the promises of philosophy, and acquit providence of a long reign of crime and tyranny. That France, once illustrious among enslaved nations, may, by eclipsing the glory of all free countries that ever existed, become a model to nations, a terror to oppressors, a consolation to the oppressed, an ornament of the universe and that, by sealing the work with our blood, we may at least witness the dawn of the bright day of universal happiness. This is our ambition, – this is the end of our efforts.

Source: M. Robespierre, “On the Principles of Political Morality” (1794)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia on Oliver Cromwell

Oliver_Cromwell_by_Samuel_Cooper

Cromwell, Oliver

Born Apr. 25, 1599, in Huntingdon; died Sept. 3, 1658, in London. Outstanding figure of the English Bourgeois Revolution of the 17th century; leader of the Independents, and lord protector of England (from 1653). According to F. Engels’ estimate, he was the “Robespierre and Napoleon rolled into one” of the English Revolution (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 1, p. 602).

Cromwell was born into a middle gentry family and began his political activity in 1628, when he was first elected to the House of Commons. Nevertheless, within the ranks of the Parliamentary opposition to Stuart absolutism Cromwell became well known only with the convocation in 1640 of the “Long Parliament,” in which he spoke out as an advocate of the interests of the bourgeoisie and the new gentry.

With the beginning of the first civil war against the king (1642–46), Cromwell with the rank of captain became head (in September 1642) of a volunteer cavalry detachment. Cromwell strongly advocated the democratization of the Parliamentary army, and he wanted to attract to it those who would fight against the king out of conviction rather than as mercenaries. In seeking out such “soldiers of God,” Cromwell turned to the yeomanry of eastern England, who were devout Puritans and hostile to outmoded feudal orders. Cromwell’s peasant cavalry (he commanded a cavalry regiment from the beginning of 1643) soon merited its nickname of “Ironsides” because of its tenacity and discipline. It became the nucleus of the Parliamentary army, which was reorganized upon Cromwell’s initiative at the beginning of 1645 (the “New Model Army”) and in which Cromwell was deputy commander in chief with the rank of lieutenant general. Cromwell’s skill as a general was most clearly manifested in the decisive battles of the first civil war—at Marston Moor (July 2, 1644) and at Naseby (June 14, 1645), where it was Cromwell’s cavalry that decided the success of these battles.

Although during the first civil war Cromwell reflected to a considerable degree the mood of the revolutionary democracy in the Parliamentary camp, after the victory over the king and the latter’s imprisonment, he retarded and restrained the movement of the popular masses. This led to a fierce struggle between Cromwell and the Levelers (1647). Caught between three political forces in 1647—the Presbyterian majority in Parliament, the army, and the imprisoned king—Cromwell showed himself to be a resourceful and evasive politician. Utilizing the army as his principal support, he carried on secret negotiations with the king at the same time, and he dealt harshly with disturbances among the soldiers.

When at the beginning of the second civil war (1648) Cromwell again needed the support of the masses, he made a temporary alliance with the Levelers. In 1648 he captured London, and with the aid of his soldiers he purged the House of Commons of the openly outspoken royalists (”Pride’s Purge” of Dec. 6, 1648). Under pressure from the lower classes, Cromwell was compelled to agree to the trial and execution of the king, the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords, and the proclamation of England as a republic. However, the republic that was declared in May 1649 was in fact a dictatorship by the so-called Meek Independents, headed by Cromwell.

The smashing of the Levelers’ uprising and the Diggers’ movement in England itself, the extremely harsh military expedition against rebellious Ireland (1649–50), Cromwell’s Scottish campaign (1650–51), and the plundering of Irish lands all testified to Cromwell’s transformation into the Napoleon of the English Revolution. By his growing conservatism and his hostility to the democratic aspirations of the masses Cromwell merited the trust of the bourgeoisie and the new gentry.

Officially appointed by Parliament in May 1650 as lord general and commander in chief of all the republic’s armed forces, Cromwell proceeded to establish his own personal dictatorship. On Apr. 20, 1653, he dissolved “the Rump” of the Long Parliament; in December 1653 he was proclaimed lord protector of England, Ireland, and Scotland. This protectorate regime transformed Cromwell into the de facto sovereign ruler of the country, the military might of which, forged during the course of the Revolution, was now placed at the service of the bourgeoisie’s trade and colonial expansion.

Cromwell’s outward grandeur, which reached its apex during these years, could not, however, conceal the weakness of the protectorate system. The class allies who had come to power strove to erect a more tenable barrier against the claims of the popular masses. Famed for his reputation as a regicide, Cromwell was in their eyes an insufficient guarantee against the common people. Cromwell’s right-wing enemies prepared secretly for a restoration of the Stuarts. By his own open anti-democratism Cromwell himself facilitated and expedited this restoration, which was carried out in 1660, shortly after Cromwell’s death.

SOURCES

The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, vols. 1–4. Edited by W. C. Abbott. Cambridge, 1937–47.

REFERENCES

Angliiskaia burzhuaznaia revoliutsiia XVII v., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1954. (Contains a bibliography.)
Barg, M. A. Kromvel’ i ego vremia. Moscow, 1950.
Pavlova, T. A. “Oliver Kromvel’: chelovek i politik.” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1971, nos. 1–2.
Gardiner, S. R. History of the Commonwealth and Protectorate (1649–1656). New edition, vols. 1–4. London, 1903.
Buchan, J. Oliver Cromwell. London, 1949.
Hill, C. God’s Englishman: Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution. London [1970].
Abbott, W. C. A Bibliography of Oliver Cromwell. Cambridge, 1929.

M. A. BARG

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia on Maximilien de Robespierre

maximilien_robespierre_by_fuzzielogic-d3ienz8

I’m posting this article from the 1979 Soviet Encyclopedia for May 6th, Robespierre’s birthday.

–E.S.

Robespierre, Maximilien De 

(full name, Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre). Born May 6, 1758, in Arras; died July 28, 1794, in Paris. Leader during the French Revolution.

The son of a lawyer, Robespierre studied at the Collège Louis-le-Grand in Paris and later, at the faculty of law at the Sorbonne. As a student, Robespierre was strongly influenced by Enlightenment ideas and especially by Rousseau, whom he regarded as his mentor. In 1781 he became a lawyer in Arras, specializing in political cases. In 1783 he was elected to the Arras Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Robespierre was elected in 1789 to represent the Third Estate of Arras as a deputy in the Estates General. In his speeches to the Estates General and later to the Constituent Assembly, Robespierre defended democratic principles and the interests of the people. He criticized the antidemocratic character of certain proposals of the bourgeois liberal majority, such as the distinction between active and passive citizenship; the introduction of a property census, which would create a new “aristocracy of wealth”; and the royal veto. Adopting a more radical line, Robespierre supported the demands of the peasantry on the most important issue, the agrarian problem. All of his speeches were permeated with the ideas of popular power and political equality—an idea that he consistently developed, addressing the people directly and disregarding his fellow deputies.

From 1790, Robespierre’s popularity increased in democratic circles. He received the support of the Jacobin Club, the Cordeliers, and political clubs in Marseille, Toulon, and several other cities. However, unlike most democrats, he was late in recognizing the necessity of proclaiming a republic. Even during the crisis stemming from the king’s attempt to flee the country in June 1791, Robespierre did not support the demand for a republic, fearing that it would be an aristocratic regime. Moreover, he did not oppose the Le Chapelier Law of June 1791, which was directed against the working class.

Characterizing as sheer adventurism the policies of the Girondins, who were propagandizing in favor of revolutionary war in the winter and spring of 1791, Robespierre declared that the foreign counterrevolution could not be vanquished until the revolution had triumphed in France. With the outbreak of war between France and a coalition of absolutist feudal states in the spring of 1792, Robespierre insisted on the use of revolutionary methods of warfare and castigated the Feuillants’ and Girondins’ lack of confidence in the people, expressing his views in Le Défenseur de la constitution (Defender of the Constitution), a weekly that he began publishing in the spring of 1792. In the summer of 1792, Robespierre demanded the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, which had replaced the Constituent Assembly in the autumn of 1791; the introduction of universal suffrage; and elections to the Convention.

Although Robespierre did not participate directly in the popular uprising of Aug. 10, 1792, by August 11 he had been elected a member of the revolutionary Paris Commune. In September 1792 he was elected to represent Paris in the National Convention, having received more votes than any other candidate. He and J.-P. Marat led the struggle against the Girondins and succeeded in having the death penalty enacted for the deposed king. He was one of the political leaders of the popular insurrection of May 31-June 2, 1793, which overthrew the Girondins. Robespierre became one of the principal formulators of the revolutionary policies of the Jacobins, who came to power after the Girondins. Among the achievements of the Jacobins were the solution of the agrarian problem by the abolition of feudal landownership, the enactment of the democratic constitution of 1793, and other measures that ensured wide popular support for the Jacobin government. Robespierre provided a theoretical foundation for the new, higher form of organization of revolutionary power that replaced the constitutional regime—the revolutionary democratic dictatorship, the need for which was understood more rapidly and more clearly by Robespierre than by other Jacobin leaders. In a speech to the Convention on Dec. 25, 1793, Robespierre described the essence of revolutionary government: “The revolution is the struggle of freedom against its enemies; the constitution is the regime of a victorious and peaceful freedom” (Izbr. proizv., vol. 3, p. 91, 1965).

In July 1793, Robespierre became the head of the Committee of Public Safety. He played a crucial role in the mobilization of popular forces and the achievement of victory over foreign and domestic counterrevolution. However, his political activity was marked by contradictions rooted in the very character of the Jacobin dictatorship. His revolutionary traits were intertwined with the limited capacities and duplicity characteristic of bourgeois politicians. For example, Robespierre struggled not only against the followers of G. J. Danton, who attacked the revolutionary government from the right, but also against left-wing social forces, including P.-G. Chaumette and his supporters. He also insisted on strictly enforcing a maximum wage, and he upheld other similar measures. Robespierre was mistaken in his attempts to unify the nation around a new, republican religion (the cult of the Supreme Being), the fallacy of which he soon realized.

Although Robespierre was aware of increasing opposition to the Jacobin dictatorship and the futility of his efforts, he did not take effective measures to prevent the conspiracy that was developing against him. He was absent from the Convention for six weeks (until July 26), and at the end of June 1794, he left the Committee of Public Safety. On July 26, 1794, he attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the Convention to censure the conspirators. The counterrevolutionary Thermidor coup (July 27–28, 1794) led to the fall of the Jacobin dictatorship. Robespierre and his closest supporters were arrested and guillotined without trial.

WORKS

Oeuvres complètes, vols. 1–10. Paris, 1910–67.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizv., vols. 1–3. Moscow, 1965.
Perepiska. Leningrad, 1929.

REFERENCES

Lukin, N. M. Robesp’er, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1924.
Manfred, A. Z. M. Robesp’er …. Moscow, 1958.
Mathiez, A. Etudes sur Robespierre. Paris, 1958.
Maximilien Robespierre. Berlin, 1961.
Walter, G. Robespierre, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1961.

A. Z. MANFRED

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximilien de Robespierre on Justice and Terror

“Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country’s most urgent needs. “

‎”The most extravagant idea that can be born in the head of a political thinker is to believe that it suffices for people to enter, weapons in hand, among a foreign people and expect to have its laws and constitution embraced. No one loves armed missionaries; the first lesson of nature and prudence is to repulse them as enemies.”

– Maximilien de Robespierre