Opinions of Robepierre, on forced eviction of religion from public life(de-christinization), the Vendee war(was it genocide?), The National Directory's sacking of Rome,
1) Is Robespierre a character that should be respected or hated.
2) Were the tactics, and methods, of the Committee of Public Safety against christianity justifiable?
3)Was the extermination of Royalists and Catholic forces, and their supporters, in the Vendee War defendable
I struggle with with first one, as the brutality of the terror is undeniable, but his writings help me see just how extreme the circumstances are. All the monarchies of europe were united, the pope declared resistance to the cause of the republic the moral duty of the Catholics. Armies were marching from all sides, civil war was in the Vendee, in lyon. Food scarcity was driving panic, the Prussian general leading the blitz towards Paris was promising to raze Paris to the ground and punish the Parisians with terrible brutality. That said, he made the act of stating disagreement with him a capital offense, and denied people freedom of thought through the terror.
2)I argue no, full stop.
3)Again, I dont know. French society is very polarized here, but I really know what my opinion here is.
though, the best argument against the argument of God. These godless radicals went to war with all of europe, and the muslim world, and the british empire, and won.
In my opinion, extermination and terror is never justifiable, and on top of that, it doesn't work. France is a very secular country, but religion and the religious have not been "exterminated". The Russian revolution also sought to purge society from religion, and it did not work, either. It is best to limit the power of organized religion, and specifically powerful religious organizations, and to promote critical thinking and learning; then religion will be relegated to a personal crutch and would be rendered toothless.
Now, the French Revolution perhaps could never had happened without horrific bloodshed, because the power of the monarchy was indeed absolute, and the masses lived under conditions of extreme under-privilege. And initially, there were backlashes and the French ended up with a monarchy again, under Bonaparte. It took a while for a truly secular nation to emerge.
I agree that the extreme violence against the noblity, rapes and despicable acts that were done and the "guillotine" aren't justifiable however great their motives were.
im inclined to support the guillotine as an execution method, given a fair and proper trial and convicted of a crime in which the death penalty is called for. The likes of Karla Homolka and Ted Bundy deserve the blade.
We had a very interesting and extensive discussion on the death penalty in our group last year, see here. I oppose the death penalty even for those who "deserve" it, for reasons explained in that discussion. May be worth reviving the discussion. It's a difficult and complex subject.
Well, the US civil war cost 250,000+ lives (in battle deaths only) vs. the French revolution's numbers (estimates vary between 16,000 and 40,000 deaths.)
Why isn't that also called Terror?
that's executed, it was part of the larger War of the First Coalition. Of which nearly 200,000 died in the Vendee alone.