Maximilien de Robespierre
(1758-1794)

Died aged c. 36

Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (French: [maksimiljɛ̃ ʁɔbɛspjɛʁ]; 6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794) was a French lawyer and statesman who became one of the best-known, influential and controversial figures of the French Revolution. As a member of the Estates-General, the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, he campaigned for universal manhood suffrage, the right to vote for African slaves, Jews or actors, and the abolition of both clerical celibacy and slavery in France. In 1791, Robespierre was elected as "public accuser" and became an outspoken advocate for male citizens without a political voice, for their unrestricted admission to the National Guard, to public offices, and to the commissioned ranks of the army, for the right to petition and the right to bear arms in self defence. Robespierre played an important part in the agitation which brought about the fall of the French monarchy on 10 August 1792 and the summoning of a National Convention. His goal was to create a one and indivisible France, equality before the law, to abolish prerogatives and to defend the principles of direct democracy. He earned the nickname "the incorruptible" for his adherence to strict moral values. As one of the leading members of the Paris Commune, Robespierre was elected as a deputy to the French Convention in early September 1792 but was soon criticised for trying to establish either a triumvirate or a dictatorship. In April 1793, Robespierre urged the creation of a sans-culotte army to enforce revolutionary laws and sweep away any counter-revolutionary conspirator, leading to the armed Insurrection of 31 May – 2 June 1793. Because of his health, Robespierre announced he was to resign but in July he was appointed as a member of the powerful Committee of Public Safety, and reorganized the Revolutionary Tribunal. Those who were not actively defending France (modérantisme) became his enemy. During the Reign of Terror, at least 300,000 suspects were arrested; 17,000 were officially executed, and perhaps 10,000 died in prison or without trial. Although Robespierre always had like-minded allies, the politically motivated violence that the Montagne faction often promoted disillusioned others. After exactly one year, Robespierre was undone by his obsession with the vision of an ideal republic and his indifference to the human costs of installing it, turning both members of the Convention and the French public against him. He and his allies were arrested in the Paris town hall on 9 Thermidor. Robespierre was wounded in his jaw, but it is not known if it was self-inflicted or the outcome of the skirmish. About 90 people, including Robespierre, were executed in the days after, events that initiated a period known as the Thermidorian Reaction. A divisive figure during his lifetime due to his views and policies, Robespierre remains controversial to this day. George Rudé estimates that the spokesman made some 900 speeches, in which he often expressed his political and philosophical views forcefully. He defended the right of revolution and promoted a revolutionary armed force. His legacy and reputation continue to be subject to academic and popular debate. To some, Robespierre was the Revolution's principal ideologist and embodied the country's first democratic experience, marked by the often revised and never implemented French Constitution of 1793. To others, he was the incarnation of the Terror itself.

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Commemorated on 3 plaques

Ici a sejourne Maximilien Robespierre du 17 Juillet 1791 Jusqu'a sa mort le 28 Juillet 1794 (10 Thermidor an II)

English translation: Here stayed Maximilian Robespierre from 17 July 1791 Until his death on 28 July 1794 (10 Thermidor an II) [AWS Translate]

398 de la rue de Saint-Honoré, Paris, France where they stayed (1791-1794)

Maximilien Robespierre habita cette maison de 1787 a 1789 hommage de la société des Etudes Robespierristes et du Comité du Monument de Robespierre

English translation: Maximilien Robespierre lived in this house from 1787 to 1789 tribute to the Society of Robespierrist Studies and the Committee of the Monument of Robespierre [AWS Translate]

3 rue Robespierre, Arras, France where they lived (1787-1789)

Café Procope. Ici Procopio dei Coltelli fonda en 1686 le plus ancien café du monde et le plus célèbre centre de la vie littéraire et philosophique au 18e et au 19e siècles. Il fut fréquenté par La Fontaine, Voltaire, les Encyclopédistes, Benjamin Franklin, Danton, Marat, Robespierre, Napoléon Bonaparte, Balzac, Victor Hugo, Gambetta, Verlaine et Anatole France.

English translation: Café Procope. Here Procopio dei Coltelli founded in 1686 the oldest café in the world and the most famous center of philosophical and literary life in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was visited by La Fontaine, Voltaire, Les Encyclopédistes, Benjamin Franklin, Danton, Marat, Robespierre, Napoléon Bonaparte, Balzac, Victor Hugo, Gambetta, Verlaine and Anatole France.

13 rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, Paris, France where they visited