(Note: I am writing this from Paris France)
I fear we may be headed down the path of the French “Reign of Terror” led by Robespierre.
The American and French Revolutions occurred in roughly the same period in the late 1700s, but with different foundational philosophies and dramatically different results.
Look at some excerpts from the biography of a man seemingly pure and noble at the beginning, becoming drunk with power resulting in the brutal deaths of many thousands, including his own, ending with the dictatorship of Napoleon Bonaparte.
“ … In April 1789, Robespierre was elected president of the powerful Jacobin political faction. A year later, he participated in writing the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, the foundation of the French constitution. When the people of Paris rose up against King Louis XVI in August 1792, Robespierre was elected to head the Paris delegation to the new National Convention. In December of that year, he successfully argued for the execution of the king and continued to encourage the crowds to rise up against the aristocracy.
On July 27, 1793, Maximilien Robespierre was elected to the Committee of Public Safety, formed to oversee the government with virtual dictatorial control. Faced with pressures both from the outside and from within, the Revolutionary government instituted the Reign of Terror in September. In the next 11 months, 300,000 suspected enemies of the Revolution were arrested and more than 17,000 were executed, most by guillotine. In the orgy of bloodshed, Robespierre was able to eliminate many of his political opponents.
Seemingly intoxicated with the power over life and death, Robespierre called for more purges and executions. By the summer of 1794, many in the Revolutionary government began to question his motives, as the country was no longer threatened by outside enemies. 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. … “
The target of Robespierre and the French Revolution was King Louis XVI.
“ … Louis XVI became the heir to the throne and the last Bourbon king of France upon his father’s death in 1765. In 1770, he married Austrian archduchess Marie-Antoinette, the daughter of Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I. After a slew of governing missteps, Louis XVI brought the French Revolution crashing down upon himself, and in 1793 he was executed. His wife, Marie-Antoinette, was executed nine months later. …”
Human nature seldom — probably never — changes, and history often seems to repeat itself, or at least casts its ghostly images on present day life.
It seems to me that today’s America is setting itself up for a replay of Robespierre and his Jacobians.
We are pushing our Judea/Christian Biblical roots into the corners of churches and synagogues, not to be seen in public.
The barricades of moral standards fall against the onslaught of unbridled thought and teaching.
We are pulling down the reminders of our history – good and bad — by destroying monuments around the nation and teaching history in a politically correct fashion.
We have set up enemies within us, casting the “we” as noble and just, and “them” as evil. Hearts and minds close with breathtaking acceleration.
I advise carful personal reflection as to our thinking, attitudes and actions in this time of troubles for our nation.
And no better source for such reflection exists than that wisdom from the founders of this great nation.
“ … because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. … “ John Adams.
Don Johnson – August 2017