Western Civilization^2 lesson 65

(3) Look online for additional resources about one of the atrocities described in the lesson on the Reign of Terror and summarize what happened in 200-250 words.

Before you read my report-thing, lets take a moment to appreciate how horrifying this topic is. The entire time writing it, I felt like throwing up–I hope you don’t throw up yourself when you read this.

During the Reign of Terror led by Robespierre, at least 27,000 people were executed or died in prison awaiting their turn at the guillotine. The mass deaths began with the law of suspects in 1793 where it was proclaimed legal to execute anyone suspected of harboring or being an anti-revolutionary. Anyone who objected was also relieved of their own head. The horror escalated when the guillotine was deemed not efficient enough and the Drownings at Nantes were introduced. Women, children, or men were bound together in pairs and piled into boats with boarded over holes in the sides. The boats were led out to the middle of the lake where the boards were pried off and the executioners leapt safely to their own completely sealed boats to watch the prisoners drown. The shootings at Angers in 1794 were almost more horrifying with a total of 2000 deaths by the method of prisoners being tied into a long line and shot into the ditches dug behind them. The many who were merely wounded were finished off by swords. Fittingly, Robespierre was himself executed as a grand finale to the Reign of Terror in 1794 after suffering from a shattered jaw in prison for an entire day.

(4) What was the situation of the Church in France after Napoleon came to power?

Before the French revolution in 1789, the main religion in France was Catholicism, but soon after the beginning of the Revolution, the church began to have its land seized and its members imprisoned and executed. Priests fled the country like rats leaving a sinking ship. Many who were left behind refused to renounce their holy vows and were promptly executed for “religious fanaticism.” Towards the end of the revolution in 1795, a man named Napoleon Bonaparte arrived on the scene. He realized that most of France’s population was Catholic and carefully brought the religion back, but with severe restrictions so that he would always maintain control. Pope Pius VII agreed to all of Napoleon’s limitations on the Church because he believed that any return of the church to France was a victory. Some of the new parameters included government-controlled revenue and government-controlled seminaries. No Church officials could be elected without Bonaparte’s consent and Bishops were chained to their diocese by law. The final kicker is something we still do today—get legally married by the government in addition to taking vows in a church. Even though the French Revolution attempted to wipe out or control Catholicism in France, to this day it still remains the most popular religion in the country.

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