Power in this assembly was divided between the more moderate Girondins, who sought a constitutional monarchy and economic liberalism and favored spreading the Revolution throughout Europe by means of war, and the Montagnards, who preferred a policy of radical egalitarianism.
By the spring of 1793, the war was going badly, and France found itself surrounded by hostile powers while counterrevolutionary insurrections were spreading outward from the Vendée.
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.
Still uncertain of its position, the committee obtained the Law of 22 Prairial, year II (June 10, 1794), which suspended a suspect’s right to public trial and to legal assistance and left the jury a choice only of acquittal or death.
The “Great Terror” that followed, in which about 1,400 persons were executed, contributed to the fall of Robespierre on July 27 (9 Thermidor).Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!By this time Austria and Prussia had, with the encouragement of Louis XVI already declared war on France.(Thomson, 1990, p.34)The National Assembly who was at this time controlled by the more moderate Girondins had to declare war on Austria and Prussia to maintain their political position.Laws were passed that defined those who should be arrested as counterrevolutionaries, and committees of surveillance were set up to identify suspects and issue arrest warrants.Later laws suspended the rights of suspects to both legal assistance and public trials and mandated execution of all those who were found guilty.The reign of terror, the period in the French revolution when around forty thousand people lost their lives in the name of the revolution was the climax of the French Revolution.The revolution itself was caused by a combination of factors the led to an economic and social crisis that left the French third class little choice but to revolt.It was around this time that the revolution became bloodier than ever, executions were becoming a more accepted solution to the problems of the revolution , it was at this time that the September massacres occurred.(Doyle, 1989, p.397)The Girondins were held responsible for the affairs so far and power was turned over to the more radical Jacobins.