Robespierre: Hero or Villain?

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Robespierre: Hero or Villain? Maximilien Robespierre once said: “Any law which violates the inalienable rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all”. He was the most influential member of the Committee of Public Safety in France and he was one of the great supporters of liberty and freedom of speech. Furthermore, he was very much inspired by pioneering philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu, two of the most radical enlightenment thinkers. Thus, one might believe that he was a very ethical man and a capable leader that could finally bring the French Revolution to an end. One could think that he was the hero of his era, but that would be a biased judgment, since there are two sides to every story, and every man. Despite his sayings and his thirst for freedom, Robespierre also revealed that he had a crueler and rather ruthless side to his character. Could that be because of his passion for the French Revolution and his power over others got him carried away? Whatever the reason may be, it is just a cold fact that he was responsible for the death of thousands of people. That is a number able to shock anyone into thinking that Robespierre was an utter villain. Therefore, in order to end this contradiction of opinions and debates, his motivations as well as his actions should be examined in relation to one another. It is possible that despite his merciless decisions, a few historians have supported Robespierre. Amongst them is Albert Aboul who thought that Robespierre’s actions were necessary for the benefit of France. This could be because he admired his determination to change his country. If seen from that point of view, Robespierre did have a heroic nature. He supported freedom and total equality and he disliked war and violence. For instance, he opposed war against Austria on December 1791. In addition, it has
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