Conspiracy and terror in the French Revolution

Linton, Marisa (2016) Conspiracy and terror in the French Revolution. In: Conspiracy and Democracy Research Group at CRASSH public lecture; 19 Apr 2016, Cambridge, U.K..


Conspiracies, both real and imagined, played a central role in the shifting dynamics of French revolutionary politics. This talk will look at how fear of conspiracy influenced decisions taken by revolutionary leaders during the most traumatic period of the Revolution - the Terror of the Year II (1793-94). Successive revolutionary factions were subject to a specific form of terror, the ‘politicians’ terror’, whereby they themselves were denounced as ‘the enemy within’ and put to death. This talk will examine the ideological, tactical and emotional factors that led some of the Revolution’s most prominent leaders, including Brissot, Danton, and Robespierre, to be condemned as secret conspirators against it.

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