Danton and the French Revolution; between DW Griffith and Soviet Russia | Soft morning, city!
The conflict between Robespierre and Danton is a battle of ideas, the . Robespierre's relationship with Danton is also the subject of Georg. The main difference was Danton's pleas for an end to the reign of terror, which he saw as increasingly self-destructive for the revolution. Robespierre, in contrast. In his introduction to Robespierre: Virtue and Terror, a collection of already forms a connection between the proponents of revolutionary terror.
Robespierre took every precaution to assure Danton's condemnation. There were no witnesses, because the "proof" rested largely in Robespierre's accusations. However, the charges were scarcely credible. Robespierre's belief that Danton was involved in plots against France was impossible to prove and hardly believable.
The charges became even more ridiculous when Robespierre accused Danton of being an enemy of virtue and not being patriotic enough.
Once again Robespierre demonstrated his belief that anything contrary to the Republic of Virtue was a crime against France.
Robespierre's picture of Danton was a travesty of logic and justice. One by one, Danton began to answer to Saint-Just's charges, reducing them to a concoction of lies and gossip.
He spoke for over an hour and, before he was through, it became apparent to the whole court, audience and participants alike, that the charges could not possibly be sustained. The President was so afraid that the crowd might take the prisoner's side that he adjourned the session, with the excuse that Danton must be tired.
After adjournment, a report was spread through Paris that Danton was to be acquitted, and, on the following day, the rest of the Dantonists would be allowed to defend their actions. Thus, the Dantonists were not allowed to further defend themselves, and the trial became dominated by Robespierre. Danton expressed his indignation at the injustice and the tyranny of their trial. Danton cried out, "We are to be condemned without a hearing!
There is no need for the jury to deliberate. We have lived long enough to be content to slumber in the bosom of glory. Take us to the scaffold! In the verdict, five days later, these charges were condensed into two. Six of the prisoners were found guilty of a conspiracy aiming at the re-establishment of the monarchy and the destruction of the national representation and republican government. One was acquitted, while the other nine were guilty of a conspiracy aiming at discrediting and debasing the national representation and destroying by corruption the Republican government.
Your house shall be beaten down and sowed with salt. Time will never erase it from my memory. I perfectly comprehend the feeling which inspired Danton to utter his last words, those terrible words, that I could not hear, but which were repeated to me in trembling horror and admiration.
For five years Danton had been the champion of the Revolution, but the forces of Robespierre had given Danton the image of a traitor. Since Danton's head had fallen, Robespierre was making no mistake in believing that his life was now, more than ever, in danger. First, the Girondins had fallen, then the Hebertists, and, after Danton, Robespierre and all his followers were executed.
The Revolution had eaten its children and destroyed the Republic of Virtue. Robespierre's most serious rival was Danton. During the Revolution Danton was seen by many as an alternative to Robespierre. Danton had been in power two times during the Revolution. First, he was made Minister of Justice in the interim government that succeeded the destruction of the monarchy, and secondly, as one of the original members of the first Committee of Public Safety.
He had extensive friendships, a considerable personal following and unimpeachable Revolutionary credentials.
The fact that such a man as Danton could be overthrown by the ruses and guile of Robespierre filled the National Convention with terror.
Danton Versus Robespierre: The Quest for Revolutionary Power
No one could perceive himself free from accusation. Robespierre was a man full of pride and cunning, and an envious and vindictive being who surmounted obstacles and circumstances most appalling. His steadiness and control helped him ascend to the Committee of Public Safety, where he openly aspired to tyranny and dictatorship. Robespierre, with the ability or luck to preserve his own popularity, seized the moment to destroy Danton, but in reality he destroyed himself.
Robespierre wanted a Republic of Virtue based on his idealistic philosophy, while Danton wanted a Republic slightly different from pre-Revolutionary France. The conflict brought these two powerful leaders together and caused their downfall.
Robespierre was a man of philosophy, while Danton was a man of practicality. The deaths of Danton, and many other patriots, were inevitable because of the complex political struggles of late and early Perhaps had these two leaders merged their views, Danton and Robespierre might not have met their untimely demises and further bloodshed may have been avoided. Stanley Loomis, Paris in the Terror: June New York: Lippincott, Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution: Appleton and Company, ; reprint, New York: Heritage Press, Loomis, Paris in the Terror, Norman Hampson, Danton New York: Appleton-Century, The Free Press, Thompson, Leaders of the French Revolution ; reprint, Oxford: Kerr, The Reign of Terror Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Yale University Press, Thompson ; reprint, Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, John Hall Stewart New York: Apostle to the Terror Hamden, Connecticut: Anchor Books, Little, Brown and Company, Portrait of a Revolutionary Democrat New York: The Viking Press, Alphonse Aulard, The French Revolution: Bernard Miall New York: Charles Scribner and Sons, Robert Christophe, Danton, trans.
Parisian distrust for the court turned to open insurrection. Danton's role in this uprising is unclear. He may have been one of its leaders; this view is supported because on the morning after the effective fall of the monarchy, Danton became minister of justice. This sudden rise from the subordinate office which he held in the commune is a demonstration of his power within the insurrectionist party.
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. February Learn how and when to remove this template message According to a biographer, "Danton's height was colossal, his make athletic, his features strongly marked, coarse, and displeasing; his voice shook the domes of the halls".
Their strength was soon put to the test. The alarming successes of the Austrians and the surrender of two important fortresses caused panic in the capital; over a thousand prisoners were murdered.
At that time, Danton was accused of directing these September Massacresbut no evidence of this is available from modern research. However, he apparently did nothing to prevent the atrocities, and instead insisted that his colleagues should remain firm at their posts. The election to the National Convention took place in September ; after which the remnant of the Legislative Assembly formally surrendered its authority.
The Convention ruled France until October Danton was a member; resigning as Minister of Justice once it was clear that the invading Austrian and Prussian armies had been turned back, he took a prominent part in the deliberations and proceedings of the Convention.Mi película Cena Dantón y Robespierre
He found himself side by side with Maratwhose exaggerations he never countenanced; with Maximilien Robespierrewhom he did not regard very highly, but whose immediate aims were in many respects his own; with Camille Desmoulins and Pierre Philippeauxwho were his close friends and constant partisans. Danton saw radical Paris as the only force to which the National Convention could look in resisting Austria and its allies on the north-east frontier, and the reactionaries in the interior.
It is the centre of light. When Paris shall perish there will no longer be a republic. After the execution had been carried out, he thundered "The kings of Europe would dare challenge us?
We throw them the head of a king! When all executive power was conferred upon a Committee of Public Safety 6 AprilDanton had been one of the nine original members of that body.
He was dispatched on frequent missions from the Convention to the republican armies in Belgiumand wherever he went he infused new energy into the army. He pressed forward the new national system of educationand he was one of the legislative committee charged with the construction of a new system of government. He tried and failed to bridge the hostilities between Girondists and Jacobins.
The Girondists were irreconcilable, and the fury of their attacks on Danton and the Mountain was unremitting. Fall of the Girondists[ edit ] This section needs additional citations for verification. June Learn how and when to remove this template message Although he was—again in the words of the Britannica—"far too robust in character to lose himself in merely personal enmities", by the middle of May Danton had made up his mind that the Girondists must be politically suppressed.
The Convention was wasting time and force in vindictive factional recriminations, while the country was in crisis. Danton had defended Dumouriez against attacks in Convention, probably to allow Dumouriez to concentrate on the war, before the General's defection, so it decreased Danton's standing with the public and made him lose some of the support of the more moderate members of the Jacobin club.
The French armies were suffering a series of checks and reverses. A royalist rebellion was gaining formidable dimensions in the west. The Girondists were clamoring for the heads of Danton and his colleagues in the Mountain a name for the group of Jacobins in the General Assembly, stemming from their raised seats in the back of the hallbut they would lose this struggle to the death. Danton addressing the National Convention.
There is no positive evidence that Danton directly instigated the insurrection of 31 May — 2 Junewhich ended in the purge of the Convention and the proscription of the Girondists.
He afterwards spoke of himself as in some sense the author of this revolution, because a little while before, stung by some trait of factious perversity in the Girondists, he had openly cried out in the midst of the Convention, that if he could only find a hundred men, they would resist the oppressive authority of the Girondist Commission of Twelve. At any rate, he certainly acquiesced in the violence of the communeand he publicly gloried in the expulsion of the men who stood obstinately in the way of a vigorous and concentrated exertion of national power.
Danton, unlike the Girondists, "accepted the fury of popular passion as an inevitable incident in the work of deliverance. For three months Danton was effectively the head of the government, charged especially with the conduct of foreign affairs and military matters. During this second period in the government he pursued a policy of compromise and negotiation.
He tried in every direction to enter into diplomatic conversations with the enemy. No doubt he could in all honesty think it useful to negotiate in an attempt to dissolve the allied coalition or even to obtain a general peace. By the spring ofhowever, a policy of negotiation was no longer conceivable: On various occasions he supported the policy of the Committee of Public Safety though at the same time refusing to play a part in it—which would have stabilized the political situation.
Danton still reappeared from time to time as the tribune of the people, voicing the demands of the masses. He quickly showed, however, that he sought to stabilize the Revolutionary movement; very soon—whether he wanted it or not—he appeared as the leader of the Indulgents, the moderate faction that had risen out of the Cordeliers.
During the great Parisian popular demonstrations of September 4 and 5,Danton spoke eloquently in favour of all the popular demands. Yet at the same time he tried to set bounds to the movement and keep it under control.
- Georges Danton
He demanded, for instance, that the meetings of the hitherto permanent sectional assemblies be reduced to two per week. He did not, however, intervene personally but left it to his friends to criticize the policy of the government. His disapproval of the terrorist repression had become so strong that he withdrew from political life, alleging reasons of health or of family.
On October 12 he obtained leave from the Convention and left for his native town. He returned on November 21, although the reasons for his return remain ambiguous. Danton at once resumed political activity. He vigorously supported the Committee of Public Safety against excesses of the anti-Christian movement and later opposed the abolition of the salaries of constitutional priests and hence the separation of church and state.
But he also wanted to slow the Revolutionary drive of the government. Danton defined his moderate political line on December 1,when he informed the Revolutionary radicals that their role was ended. From then on, whether such had been his intention or not, he was looked upon as the leader of the moderate opposition. At the beginning ofDanton and his friends took an even more critical attitude, with the Revolutionary journalist Camille Desmoulinsof Le Vieux Cordelier, serving as their spokesman.
They were challenging not only the system of the terror of Robespierre but the whole policy of the Revolutionary government, while awakening the hopes of the opponents of the regime. Once the government realized it could not allow itself to be overwhelmed from the right, however, the tide turned abruptly.