- Jun 2014
- Lisbon, Portugal
Can you break out exactly what the Reign of Terror really was, how many people were killed and in what circumstances that happened?I wouldn't say I reject the French Revolution, however I see the folly of a movement which claimed to promote liberty, equality and fraternity, and then initiated a reign of terror that probably exceeded the wicked and cruel acts of the monarchy. Theoretical, abstract ideas aren't easy to translate in practical, everyday living. The real test of Revolution's character was how it responded to its abstract ideas being challenged in the real word. the answer appears to be not too well. It was the perfect environment for a dictator to step into. He then crowned himself as an imperial ruler. In less than a generation the experiment went full cycle, 360 degrees.
As I said times and times before on historum wherever this issue pops up: if we live in a world in which we certainly accept and so desperately justify acts such as the General Sherman scorched earth warfare against the South and the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, why the Reign of Terror should be so vilified?
We are always eager to accept acts of mass murder as long as they are committed by the righteous side and if the outcome is the good of humanity. We always do and denying that is being intellectually dishonest. Therefore what makes the Reign of Terror such an horrible and criminal act that should be automatically condemned?
And how Napoleon destroyed everything the Revolution aspired? Yes, he was a pragmatist and reverted many of the progressive reforms of the previous revolutionaries. Anyway, the French Revolution was not to establish a Liberal Democracy as we know it today. It was not even originally made to establish a Republic, it was mainly to end the social order that was based on privilege and feudalism. It was meant to achieve equality before the law for every citizen, social justice, civil rights and separation between the church and state.
Napoleon was an autocrat indeed, but certainly most of the ideas that I mentioned before were still respected and promulgated under his rule, and even more importantly, he expanded those ideas throughout the European continent and effectively planted the seeds of progressivism and revolutionary thought everywhere.
That's the historical legacy of the both the FR and Napoleon Bonaparte.