Hey, in this blog post, I’m going to be talking about a historic event that I feel is historically significant. In class, we’re trying to gain a better understanding of what makes an event historically significant. To help me better understand historical significance, I’m going to talk about the reign of terror. Along with that, I’m going to try and relate my ideas to philosophy, ethics, and morals.

Now, for us to consider something historically significant, it has to follow under these 3 categories. It has to be notable at the time, widespread, and symbolic. Along with that, it should be an event that is well known at a national or global level.

The reign of terror was a period of the French Revolution that occurred from September 5, 1793, to July 27, 1794. It was a period of extreme violence. France was being attacked from all sides and the current government was facing backlash from the people. A group of radicals called the Jacobins that was led by a man named Robespierre, took over the government and started the terror. They felt that it was their job to preserve the Revolution at all costs.

The reign of terror was a very important and notable event at the time. All across Europe, conservatives and monarchists were terrified of the actions caused by the reign of terror and called for war against the revolutionaries. The death of the king united the European governments from Spain, Naples, and the Netherlands
to fight back against the revolution. Along with that, the reign of terror inspired other revolutions such as the Haitian revolution and the Irish rebellion. These incidents won’t don’t have come together if people didn’t understand how major and notable this event was at the time.

The philosophies and ideas for Revolution in Europe all started because of the Age of Enlightenment. The Age of Enlightenment was a philosophical movement during the 18th century. The movement advocated liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, and many other ideals. The movement also emphasized the importance of rational thinking and the moral foundations of society. These ideas played a major role in the Reign of Terror. It gave people new ideas about how they should structure the government. This leads to the current french government being overthrown and run by the Jacobins.

The widespread effect of all of this rational thinking and government was the idea of democracy. It introduced the idea of democracy to the french people. Eliminating the king and queen, freed the people from a monarchy system that was harming the people through starvation and taxes that were too much to pay. This idea of democracy slowly spread across Europe after the revolution.

The reign of terror symbolizes many things. One of the most important symbols during the reign of terror was the guillotiné. The guillotine was France’s main method of capital punishment the device used to execute people during the terror. 17,000 people were officially executed during the reign of terror. To better understand how the guillotine works, I drew a diagram below where you can see all of the different parts that go into this machine.

It is safe to say the reign of terror is considered an act of terrorism. Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” This relates to morals and ethics. Is it morally or ethically right to harm a smaller group of people to save a larger group of people? “Is one man’s terrorism another man’s freedom fighter?” The Jacobins were fighting to preserve the revolution by executing anyone who was against the idea.

Overall, the reign of terror is a very important and historically significant event. It fits into all of the categories mentioned at the start (notable, widespread, symbolic).  Along with that, its links with philosophy, ethics, and morals are very prevalent and its widespread effects and symbolism are seen and still learned about today.