Maximilien Robespierre

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No one loves armed missionaries;maximilien de robespierre died from getting his head cut off. the first lesson of nature and prudence is to repulse them as enemies.

Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (6 May 175828 July 1794) was one of the leaders of the French Revolution. Also known as "the Incorruptible". He was an influential member of the Committee of Public Safety and was instrumental in the period of the Revolution commonly known as the Reign of Terror that ended with his arrest and execution.

Quotes[edit]

Any institution which does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil.
It is with regret that I pronounce the fatal truth: Louis must die that the country may live.
Death is the beginning of immortality.
  • The most extravagant idea that can be born in the head of a political thinker is to believe that it suffices for people to enter, weapons in hand, among a foreign people and expect to have its laws and constitution embraced. No one loves armed missionaries; the first lesson of nature and prudence is to repulse them as enemies.
    • Original French: La plus extravagante idée qui puisse naître dans la tête d'un politique est de croire qu'il suffise à un peuple d'entrer à main armée chez un peuple étranger, pour lui faire adopter ses lois et sa constitution. Personne n'aime les missionnaires armés; et le premier conseil que donnent la nature et la prudence, c'est de les repousser comme des ennemis.
    • Sur la guerre (1ère intervention), a speech to the Jacobin Club (2 January 1792)
  • Citizens, did you want a revolution without revolution?
    • Original French: Citoyens, vouliez-vous une révolution sans révolution?
    • Réponse à J.- B. Louvet, a speech to the National Convention (5 November 1792)
  • It is with regret that I pronounce the fatal truth: Louis must die that the country may live.
  • Our revolution has made me feel the full force of the axiom that history is fiction and I am convinced that chance and intrigue have produced more heroes than genius and virtue.
    • Original French: Notre révolution m'a fait sentir tout le sens de l'axiome qui dit que l'histoire est un roman ; et je suis convaincu que la fortune et l'intrigue ont fait plus de héros, que le génie et la vertu.
    • Lettres à ses commettants, 1ère série, n°10, (21 December 1792)
  • Any institution which does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil.
  • The aim of constitutional government is to preserve the Republic; that of revolutionary government is to lay its foundation.
    • Christmas 1793 speech [1]
  • lf the attribute of popular government in peace is virtue, the attribute of popular government in revolution is at one and the same time virtue and terror, virtue without which terror is fatal, terror without which virtue is impotent. The terror is nothing but justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is thus an emanation of virtue.
    • Speech to the National Convention, (5 February 1794), as quoted in The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923, Vol. 1 (1951) by Edward Hallett Carr, p. 154
    • Variant translations:
      • The attribute of popular government in a revolution is at one and the same time virtue and terror. Terror without virtue is fatal; virtue without terror is impotent. The terror is nothing but justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is thus an emanation of virtue.
        • As quoted in Red Star Over Southern Africa (1988) by Morgan Norval, p. xvi
      • If the mainspring of popular government in peace time is virtue, its resource during a revolution is at one and the same time virtue and terror; virtue, without which terror is merely terrible; terror, without which virtue is simply powerless.
        • As quoted in Rousseau, Robespierre and English Romanticism (1999) by Gregory Dart
      • Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs.
        • Original French: La terreur n'est autre chose que la justice prompte, sévère, inflexible; elle est donc une émanation de la vertu ; elle est moins un principe particulier, qu’une conséquence du principe général de la démocratie, appliqué aux plus pressants besoins de la patrie.
        • From Sur les principes de morale politique
  • The government in a revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny.
  • By sealing our work with our blood, we may see at least the bright dawn of universal happiness.
    • Original French: En scellant notre ouvrage de notre sang, nous puissions voir au moins briller l'aurore de la félicité universelle.
    • Speech to the National Convention (5 February 1794)
  • We must smother the internal and external enemies of the Republic or perish with it; now in this situation, the first maxim of your policy ought to be to lead the people by reason and the people's enemies by terror.
    • Original French: Il faut étouffer les ennemis intérieurs et extérieurs de la République, ou périr avec elle ; or, dans cette situation, la première maxime de votre politique doit être qu’on conduit le peuple par la raison, et les ennemis du peuple par la terreur.
    • Speech to the National Convention (5 February 1794)
  • Death is not "an eternal sleep!" Citizens! efface from the tomb that motto, graven by sacrilegious hands, which spreads over all nature a funereal crape, takes from oppressed innocence its support, and affronts the beneficent dispensation of death! Inscribe rather thereon these words: "Death is the commencement of immortality!"
    • Last speech to the National Convention[2] (26 July 1794)
  • The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.
    • Original French: Le secret de la liberté est d'éclairer les hommes, comme celui de la tyrannie et de les retenir dans l'ignorance
    • Oeuvres, Volume 2 p. 253.

About Robespierre[edit]

  • You will follow us soon! Your house will be beaten down and salt sown in the place where it stood!
    • Exclamation of Georges Danton passing Robespierre's house on the way to the guillotine, quoted in the memoirs of Paul vicomte de Barras

External links[edit]

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