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The Terror had an economic side embodied in the Maximum, a price-control measure demanded by the lower classes of Paris, and a religious side that was embodied in the program of de-Christianization pursued by the followers of Jacques Hébert.
A combination of food scarcity and rising prices led to the overthrow of the Girondins and increased the popular support of the Montagnards, who created the Committee of Public Safety to deal with the various crises.
On September 5, 1793, the Convention decreed that “terror is the order of the day” and resolved that opposition to the Revolution needed to be crushed and eliminated so that the Revolution could succeed.
About 300,000 people were arrested, and 17,000 of them were tried and executed.
As many as 23,000 more were killed without trial or died in prison.
However, conscription raised a large army that turned the tide of the war in France’s favor.
Maximilien Robespierre, president of the Jacobin Club, was also president of the National Conventionand was the most prominent member of the Committee of Public Safety; many credited him with near dictatorial power.
(Hooker, 1996, p.1)Things for the moderate Girondins were getting bad, as the Austrian and Prussian armies invaded France the lower classes revolted and attacked the royal palace.
Louis XVI fled and tried to find haven with the Assembly, but the radicals had seized the government and persuaded the Assembly to hand Louis XVI and his family over to be tried for treason.
The Reign of Terror instituted the conscripted army, which saved France from invasion by other countries and in that sense preserved the Revolution.
However, for the most part, it destabilized the country, rather than solidifying the gains of the Revolution and leading to a virtuous and happy republic, as its authors had hoped.