|“||It is wisdom, above all, that our guilty enemies want to drive from the Republic. To wisdom alone does it belong to consolidate the prosperity of empires. It is for her to guarantee the fruits of our courage.||„|
|~ Maximilien de Robespierre in a speech during the Festival of the Supreme Being, 1794|
Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (May 6, 1758 - July 28, 1794) was a politician, lawyer, and a key figure in the French Revolution. He is the secondary antagonist of the 2014 video game Assassin's Creed: Unity. He was a member of the Committee of Public Safety and was the last president and leader of the Jacobin Club as well as a member of the Templar Order.
|“||The secret to freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret to tyranny is keeping them ignorant.||„|
Robespierre was born on May 6, 1758 in Arras, France as the eldest of four children. His mother had died when he was six and his father had abandoned him, which forced the young Robespierre to take responsibility in raising his siblings. In the meantime, he himself was raised by teachers of the Oratorian College of Arras of which he had attended. When Robespierre was 11, he was given a scholarship to the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, the most prestigious university in France. He would also become heavily influenced by Enlightenment philosophers such as Denis Diderot.
|“||Any law which violates the inalienable rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all. [...] Any institution which does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil.||„|
|~ Robespierre in 1793|
After completing his education as a lawyer, Robespierre was admitted into the Arras Bar. Although he destined for a modest life as a provincial lawyer, a financial crisis had broken out in France and King Louis XVI had to call in the Estates-General. On April 20, 1789, Robespierre was elected the fifth out of eight Third Estate deputies for the province of Artois. He soon became a critic of the monarchy and an advocate for societal reform. He then founded the National Assembly along with other deputies such as the Comte de Mirabeau, Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès and the Marquis de Lafayette. During this period, he was also recruited into a radical faction of the Templar Order, led by François-Thomas Germain.
On May 5, 1789, Robespierre and his fellow Templars attended a private party at the Palace of Versailles. The party was secretly to host the induction of Élise de la Serre, the daughter of François de la Serre, into the Templar Order. On the same night however, Serre was murdered in a coup by Germain. Germain's goal was for a massive social revolution all across France which would empower the middle class, weaken the monarchy, and make it easier for the Templars to take over France and humanity as a whole.
Robespierre took up residence in Paris and would only return to Arras once. He would become a regular patron at intellectual establishments such as the Café Procope and the Café de la Regence. He joined the newly-founded Jacobin Club and became noted for his unflinching principles and conviction, earning the title of "the incorruptible". He was also known to being a talented speeker and appeared at various galleries despite his harsh tone and Artois accent. He also spoke at the National Assembly 5000 times where he spoke against the king and his ability to veto legistlation, conducted religious discrimination, and defended the rights of the common people. Mirabeau, who was vriefy the president of the Jacobin Club, said about him, "He will go far. He believes everything he says." Not much is known about his personal life other than that he lived an elegant but unluxorious life where he perfered to study and maintain good company. His extreme distrust often offended supplicants, but his disinterest in popularity made him a more respectable political figure.
In April 1791, the Templars met at the Hôtel de Beauvais where Robespierre spoke to his fellow Jacobins and called for the abolition of capital punishment. After the Templars had finished their meeting, Robespierre met up with Germain and Aloys la Touche. La Touche was placed under Robespierre's services and was tasked with spreading revolutionary terror throughout Versailles once the revolution had grown more radical and Robespierre had grown more powerful.
Rising to Power
|“||We are being watched by all nations; we are debating in the presence of the universe.||„|
|~ Robespierre on the revolution|
In April of 1792, the revolutionary government of France under the control of the Girondists, the rival political party of the Jacobin Club, had declared war on the kingdoms of Austria and Prussia. Robespierre was one of the first politicians to critize the war, which the French appeared to have been losing. The war also lead to increased distrust of King Louis XVI and the royal family and Robespierre had effectively called for an official abolition of the entire monarchy. In August of 1792, revolutionary forces and soldiers from the insurrectionist Paris Commune, joined up and stormed the royal residence of the Tuileries Palace, overthrowing King Louis, ending the monarchy, and giving birth to the new French Republic with Robespierre celebrating the Republic's proclamation at the Café Février.
The new French Republic was governed by the National Convention and Robespierre served as a deputy and represented the French capitol city of Paris to the convention. Robespierre continued to agitate the revolutionaries of France motivating them to rise up and overthrow the aristocrats that were ruling France and reversed his position on capitol punishment calling for the execution of the disposed King Louis XVI. Louis was then brought before the convention and was tried for numerous crimes and Robespierre along with his fellow Templar and ally, Louis-Michel le Peletier, voted for his execution and so the disposed king was executed on the guillotine on January 21, 1793.
Tensions eventually grew at the convention as Robespierre became obsessed with opponents and conspiracies against the revolution, especially from his political rivals, the Girondists, whose power diminished as they suffered a string of political defeats. His faction, comrpised radicals such as Georges Danton, Jean-Paul Marat, Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, was named "the mountain" due to their positions in the upper gallery of the meeting hall.