Robespierre’s use of terror is well justified, however his actions were far too radical. His death was the result of his standing out as a voice that continued to justify the usage of a terror that consumed the lives of thousands of the French public. The public’s distrust for a system (as well as a widespread paranoia) that called for the persecution of so many citizens, or enemies, gave rise to the state’s necessity for a scapegoat as a means to end the terror and restore a more revolutionary productive environment.
In Robespierre’s opening speech for the year 1794, he began to talk of oppression, revolution, how the public’s virtue played importance with this and how it could justify the use of terror. Robepierre believed that the nature of the people’s virtue played a large part in the creation of a government, which he believed was the duty of a revolutionary state. This duty would lead to need for public liberty, the protection of the state from the various factions that would control it, which called for the use of terror to prevent such crimes. An integral part of the speech was the public’s virtue being a support for the revolutionary government actions, so long as they coincided with one another.
In fact, in the beginning, the majority of the public was very supportive of the revolutionary government, as the nature of the public’s virtue allowed for a rise of nationalistic fervor, being assailed from both the inside and the outside, the people resorted to more radical action. Given their ideological fever, the elements threatening the security of the revolution had to be purged to preserve the revolution from being tainted with corruption. Robespierre and his compatriots saw enemies everywhere and were determined to “destroy the evil minded ones.” By the end of the terror, 40,000 were executed, half a million arrested, and almost one million declared suspects under the law.
These numbers were unsettling and frightening as almost anyone became...