- NAME: Maximilien de Robespierre
- OCCUPATION: Philosopher, Scholar, Activist, Lawyer, Judge, Journalist, Government Official
- BIRTH DATE: May 06, 1758
- DEATH DATE: July 28, 1794
- EDUCATION: Lycee Louis-le-Grand
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Arras, France
- PLACE OF DEATH: Paris, France
- Full Name: Maximilien Marie Isidore de Robespierre
- Nickname: The Incorruptible
Best Known For
Maximilien de Robespierre was an official during the French Revolution and one of the principal architects of the Reign of Terror.
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An awkward coalition of moderates and revolutionaries formed to oppose Robespierre and his followers.
On July 27, 1794, Robespierre and many of his allies were arrested and taken to prison. He was able to escape with the aid of a sympathetic jailer and hid in the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) in Paris. When he received word that the National Convention had declared him an outlaw, he tried to commit suicide, but succeeded only in wounding his jaw. Shortly after,
troops from the National Convention stormed the building and seized and arrested Robespierre and his followers. The next day, he and 21 of his allies were executed at the guillotine.
After the coup, the Committee of Public Safety lost its credibility and the French Revolution became distinctly less radical. France saw the return of bourgeois values, corruption and further military failure. In 1799, a military coup led by Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the Directory and established him as first consul, with dictatorial powers. In 1804, Napoleon proclaimed himself emperor of France.
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Whether by sword, axe or guillotine, death by beheading was historically considered the most humane form of death sentence—as long as the executioner was swift, strong and good at hitting his mark. While the practice was never legally supported in the United States, we do give the method a nod in this country whenever we use the term "capital punishment"; the word "capital" is derived from the Latin "capitalis," which translates to "of the head." Here are some of the most famous victims of this gruesome form of execution.
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