Explain virtue and terror, History

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Virtue and Terror

New elections were held for a new assembly, which began in late 1792 to write yet another constitution for France. But before they could start to write, they first had to decide what to do with the King. After a long and difficult debate, the French revolutionaries decided like the English revolutionaries had done in 1649 that they should execute the king as a traitor to his own country. As the Jacobin French lawyer Saint-Just said, quoting from the political writings of Rousseau, a former King could not enter into the social contract like an ordinary citizen; rather, he said, "This man must either reign or die!"

This regicide led to serious divisions within the new assembly, culminating in the Jacobins expelling and arresting the Girondins. Such division of those who had only two years earlier worked so closely together was devastating, especially because by this time, in the spring and summer of 1793, the new republic was already threatened on several fronts:

An uprising in one of the more rural regions of the west, known as the Vende, by an army of peasants who opposed the demands made by the new republic, such as military service and a "patriotic contribution" to help pay off the debt.

Other uprisings by southern cities, such as Lyon and Marseilles, which wanted a "federal" system of government, like that of the new United States, with limited power for the central government.




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