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Georges Danton (1759—1794) French revolutionary

Maximilien Robespierre (1758—1794) French revolutionary


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Committee of Public Safety

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An emergency body set up in France in April 1793. It was the first effective executive government of the Revolutionary period and governed France during the most critical year of the Revolution. Its nine members (later twelve) were chiefly drawn from the Jacobins and it contained some of the ablest men in France, dominated at first by Danton and then by Robespierre. It successfully defeated France's external enemies but was largely responsible for the Reign of Terror, and its ruthless methods, at a time of growing economic distress, led to increasing opposition. In March 1794 an attempt to overthrow it, led by Hébert, was quashed, but four months later the reaction which overthrew Robespierre marked the end of the Committee's power. It was restricted to foreign affairs until its influence was finally ended in October 1795.

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