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The Committee of Public Safety By : Ryan Torrey

Reign of Terror

Home | Reign of Terror | Members | Many Faces of the Committee | The Destruction of the Committee

Volume 12 (of 49) of the well known revolutionary publication in those early days when discussion wa

The committee of public safety was created by the national convention in 1793. Originally consisting of nine members of the convention, it was formed as an administrative body to supervise and expedite the work of the executive bodies of the convention and of the government. One of the most influential leaders was named, Robespierre. He was known leader during the French revolution, "the Incorruptible" because of his austere moral devotion to the Revolution. This time period may also be known as "The Reign Terror." A period in the French Revolution, because of brutal repression. The Terror was to defend the Revolution by destroying internal enemies and conspirators and chasing the external enemies from French territory. The Terror took the lives of between 18,500 to 40,000 people. Their job was simple, because they protect the area of France and execute the citizens who object to the king.

The committee of general security had the police to take care of the problems also. The law of suspects is defined those who could be arrested for "treasonable" activities. Estimates vary as to the number of victims, thousands were guillotined, and over 200,000 were arrested. Representatives on mission, who were agents sent out by the Committee of Public Safety, had absolute power to enforce the terror, including the establishment of special courts. Meaning that they had the final say as to whom was guilty and who wasn’t. I wouldn’t want to look suspicious to them, because the law states that anyone could be arrested for conspiracy. I believe that there were no lawyers seeing that police had the final say in not just courts, but superior courts as well.

Military Mobilization planned by the Carnot, soldiers age 18 – 25. Terms of economics run by the Enrages brought strict control. The law of the maximum and other measures set price and wages ceilings, forbade hoarding and withholding from the market, requisitioned food and supplies for the army, and instituted rationing. Mostly the committee and the members that were in it ran the laws and government. Initially the Committee of Public Safety was to preserve the reforms of the French Revolution. Its membership took final form on Sept. 6. Among its twelve members were Bertrand Barere de Vieuzac, Lazare Carnot, Georges Couthon, M. J. Hérault de Sechelles, Maximilien Robespierre, and Louis de Saint-Just and the Hebertists, J. N. Billaud-Varenne and J. N. Collot de Herbois. Robespierre became the dominant member. Their job though was to eliminate all internal counterrevolutionary elements, to raise new armies, and to assure food supplies for the armies and cities. The people of Paris, whose support was essential, demanded some of their measures. They were the law around France and made sure that everything was in order. It is as if it is today in the U.S. with the whole government controlling the land.