Maximilien de Robespierre
(1758-1794)

Died aged c. 36

Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (French: [mak.si.mi.ljɛ̃ fʁɑ̃.swa ma.ʁi i.zi.dɔʁ də ʁɔ.bɛs.pjɛʁ]; 6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794) was a French lawyer and statesman who was one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. As a member of the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, he campaigned for universal manhood suffrage and the abolition both of celibacy for the clergy, and slavery. In 1791, Robespierre became an outspoken advocate for male citizens without a political voice, for their unrestricted admission to the National Guard, to public offices, and for the right to carry 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. As one of the leading members of the insurrectionary 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. In October, after Robespierre proposed in vain to close the convention, the Committee declared itself a revolutionary government. Those who were not actively defending France became his enemy. He exerted his influence to suppress the republican Girondins to the right, the Hébertists to the left and then the Dantonists in the centre. Robespierre is best known for his role as a member of the Committee of Public Safety as he personally signed 542 arrests, especially in spring and summer 1794. The question of how responsible Robespierre was for the law of 22 Prairial remains controversial. Coming into effect at the height of the Reign of Terror, the law removed the few procedural guarantees still afforded to the accused, vastly expanded the power of the tribunal, and ultimately resulted in the number of executions in France rising dramatically. Although Robespierre always had like-minded allies, the politically motivated bloodshed that he incited disillusioned many. Moreover, the deist Cult of the Supreme Being that he had founded and zealously promoted generated suspicion in the eyes of both anticlericals and other parties who felt he was developing grandiose delusions about his place in French society. Robespierre was eventually 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. The Terror ended when 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. Robespierre remains a controversial figure. His legacy and reputation have since remained matters of academic and popular debate. George Rudé estimates that Robespierre made some 900 speeches. 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, and provided in his speeches a justification of civilian armament.

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Commemorated on 3 plaques

Monceau on Flickr
Mo on Flickr
Monceau on Flickr

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