Lenin And Robespierre Essay

1098 words - 4 pages

Revolutionary Thought When the individuals that comprise the governing institution of a society no longer represent the common will of the people, [often] those whose interests are set aside come together and fight for what they believe they are due. And in extreme instances, when the conflict spans years, drastic change is called for often resulting in a bloody laborious struggle. From the crowd leaders emerge, the intelligent, the most powerful, and the ones who can get the job done. In two of history's more renowned revolutions, the French and Russian, two great thinkers pushed the revolution onward, Robespierre and Lenin, respectively. Maximilien Robespierre was born on May 6, 1758, the son of a lawyer in Arras. His life was successful early on, being awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Louis-le-Grand College in Paris. Here he was prominent in his studies of philosophy and law, after which he became a lawyer then a judge. As a lawyer he represented mainly poor people, and outraged the privileged classes when he protested against royal absolutism and arbitrary justice. Then the notice of the summoning of the Estates General came out the people of Arras elected him to represent them in the Third Estate. He became the leader of the Jacobins, the political group in favor of the Revolution, and later devoted himself to the National Assembly, the group responsible for the newly drawn constitution. He openly accepted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, the preamble to the constitution. He fought for universal suffrage, unrestricted admission to the National Guard and public offices. He opposed that which would restrict powers to fewer people, such as the royal veto and also opposed racial and religious discrimination. He worked in the National Convention and more specifically the Committee of Public Safety and its infamous Reign of Terror, that slaughtered anything standing in the way of revolutionary progress, eventually even he would fall victim to his own ideals. Robespierre argues that the Roman/Greek concept of virtue is the "fundamental principle of the democratic or popular government" and this virtue comes from one's love of their country and of its laws. If the people of a society hold the common will as first priority, then the democratic nature of government falls into place and is not forced. When democracy and love hold precedence over greed, laws are adhered to voluntarily. He goes on to say that the "essence of the republic or of democracy is equality." Good society stems from these above principles. Good society is an equal society in which each member has the right to their say in government and has an equal opportunity in life, based on merit, not of Old Regime notions like birth. It is a society in which the love and respect of the country and its laws foster a peaceful country, and when change is called for it is done so in an orderly and democratic fashion. Nikolai Lenin was...

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