George-Jacques Danton

Danton was originally a lawyer and a member of the petite bourgeoisie under the ancien régime. His political involvement began in July 1789 where he urged his fellow citizens to demonstrate against the monarchy. Danton subsequently joined the National Guard, and was a founding member of the Cordeliers Club, along with Desmoulins.

He was a famous orator and known for his persuasive ability and charisma, and was therefore a beloved figure in Paris especially. Danton was instrumental in organising and planning the pivotal Second Invasion of the Tuileries on 10 August 1792, as well as being a key supporter of the creation of the Committee of Public Safety. He was the Minister for Justice in late 1792, and effectively condoned the September Massacres, since he did not protest the bloodshed and brutal attacks in any way.

Under the Jacobin Government, he supported the short term use of the Terror, declaring “let Terror be the order of the day”. However, by late 1793, he was beginning to shift further to the right relative to the radical ideas of Robespierre and wanted an end to the Terror and a return to common government, suspending Revolutionary Government and restoring the National Convention. In this, he was considered a citra-revolutionary, a conservative and an effective royalist according to Robespierre, in spite of his ongoing support of a republican France.

Danton was subsequently arrested in March 1794, along with his supporters known as the Dantonists or the Indulgents, and was executed on 5 April 1794.


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