Short Essay on the Home and Foreign Policy of the Reign of Terror

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During the Reign of Terror many such acts and deeds were supported and executed by the Jacobins as may send chills running down the spines of the readers. They were bloodthirsty and anarchy loving persons who killed innumerable persons to satisfy their whims.

But apart from their cruel activities, they undertook some reforms for the good France. They introduced some social reforms to make the country worth living.

1. They put an end to serfdom.

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2. They prepared a civil code.

3. They began free primary education and encouraged technical and higher education.

4. The special privileges of nobles were abolished.

5. The constitution of year III was framed.

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6. They endeavoured to end the prevailing poverty and the lands of the lords were forfeited without giving them any compensation.

7. The rates of commodities were fixed.

8. Decimal system was introduced.

9. Herbert preached the worship of the Religion of Reason and opposed Christianity. Very soon, Robespierre stressed the worship of Supreme Being in place of the worship of the Reason.

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But the following cruel activities of the authorities of the Reign of Terror bedimmed the constructive contribution of this reign.

1. Law of Suspects:

It was passed by the government on 17th September 1793. It empowered the police authorities to arrest any individual.

The people were greatly terrified by this law for they know that they could be imprisoned at any time under the law of suspects even without being a suspect.

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2. Law of Maximum:

It was enforced on 3rd September 1793. It was made to check the soaring prices and to control the black marketers. The Jacobins wanted to fix the price of commodities in the entire country.

Those who did not abide by this rule and endeavoured to act counter to it were condemned to death. The merchants were mightily terrified of this law.

3. Law of the 22nd Partial:

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This law came into force on 10th June 1794. According to it, any individual could be punished without any witness. The culprit was not permitted to seek the help of law or to engage an advocate for him. Thousands of persons were killed in less than a week after the passing of this law.

Foreign Policy of the Reign of Terror

In order to face external invaders Carnot was appointed on the post of Defence Minister. He organised the army efficiently. He made the military service compulsory in France and recruited a vast number of soldiers. He not only achieved success in defeating the foreign armies but also enhanced the power and prestige of France.

The Jacobins were held in esteem by the people due to their victory over the Austrians and the Prussians. There might be difference of opinion regarding Jacobins’ achievements in the home policy, but their foreign policy was definitely a grand success.

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