French Revolution, Reign of Terror

Reign of Terror

The period from June 1793 to July 1794 in France is known as the Reign of Terror or simply “the Terror”. The upheaval following the overthrow of the monarchy, invasion by foreign monarchist powers and the revolt in the Vendée combined to throw the nation into chaos and the government into paranoia. Most of the democratic reforms of the revolution were suspended and the Revolutionary Tribunal sentenced thousands to

Marie Antoinette at guillotine.

Marie Antoinette at guillotine 1793.

the guillotine. The first political prisoner to be executed was Collenot d’Angremont of the National Guard. Former King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were executed in 1793. Maximilien Robespierre became one of the most powerful men in the government, and the figure most associated with the Terror. Nobility and commoners, intellectuals, politicians and prostitutes,[19] all were liable to be executed on little or no grounds; suspicion of “crimes against liberty” was enough to earn one an appointment with “Madame Guillotine” or “The National Razor”. Estimates of the death toll range between 16,000 and 40,000.[20]


Elizabeth and James Monroe rescue Madame Lafayette from guillotine in Paris.

At this time, Paris executions were carried out in the Place de la Revolution (former Place Louis XV and current Place de la Concorde); the guillotine stood in the corner near the Hôtel Crillon where the statue of Brest can be found today.

For a time, executions by guillotine were a popular entertainment that attracted great crowds of spectators. Vendors sold programs listing the names of those scheduled to die. Many people came day after day and vied for the best locations from which to observe the proceedings; knitting women (tricoteuses) formed a cadre of hardcore regulars.

Eventually, the National Convention had enough of the Terror, partially fearing for their own lives, and turned against Maximilien Robespierre. He was arrested, and on 28 July 1794, was executed in the same fashion as those whom he had condemned. This arguably ended the Terror, as the French expressed their discontent with Robespierre’s policy by guillotining him.[21]

If you like this story, click on the book cover for more.

Review of The Beautiful American

Happy to get this review by WRITERS DIGEST:

The Beautiful American
By Marilyn Holdsworth
Genre: Historical fiction

Reviewed by Writers Digest

“You’ve done a good job developing a story around interesting characters and an intriguing situation. The chapters are often short with short scenes, but the story is fast paced and never really flags. In fact, the quick changes of scene might contribute to the intensity of pace, with so many things happening one right after another.Another strength is the dialogue, which showcases the characters’ differing voices. The conversations feel like real conversations between real people”.