The National Convention (1792 - 1795)
After the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, the National Convention met in 1792. It abolished monarchy and declared France as a republic. The king Louis XVI after a summary trail was found guilty of treason was guillotined (head cut off) on Sunday, 21st January 1793. Three days later the queen Maire Antoinette was also guillotined.
The National convention divided on the issue of the execution of the king. The moderates did not agree with the Jacobians, who formed the majority in the Convention. The Jacobians had set up the Revolutionary Tribunal to deal with the moderates. It was the beginning of the Reign of Terror. It was the final phase of the Revolution. It was also the darkest period of the Revolution. Riots broke out in many places like Lyons, Marseilles and other cities. In 1793, the first coalition was formed by the European nations against the revolutionary government.
The Jacobians suspended the constitution and created the Committee of Public Safety with full powers to deal with thesituation. Robespierre was the leader of this committee. It put down all the riots staged by the royalists within the country. Many people were killed on suspicion of being royalists. Soon, Robespierre became a virtual dictator of France. But, his opponents turned against him and sent him to the guillotine in 1794.
With the fall of Robespeirre the Reign of Terror gradually came to an end. Moreover the public opinion was strongly against it. The Revolutionary Tribunal was suspended. The functions of Committee of Public Safety were restricted. The Jacobian Club was closed. The National Convention at last took up its long neglected task of framing of a constitution for the French Republic. The executive was entrusted to a Directory, consisting of five members. The legislative power was entrusted to two houses called the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of the Ancients. Napolean Bonapartee was then at Paris and he was entrusted with the task of defending the Convention against the Parisian mob. He dispersed the mob and saved the Convention and began his brilliant career. On October 26, 1795 the convention declared itself dissolved and the Directory took charge of the French government.
The French Revolution of 1789 inaugurated a new era in the history of the mankind. The ideas of 'liberty, equality and fraternity' spread to other parts of the world. The Bourbon monarchy was abolished. The Revolution rejected tyranny, divine right, conservatism, and feudal vestiges associated with bourbon rule in France. At the same time it failed to establish a permanent Republic in France. The French Revolution, after a violent turn led to the emergence of a great dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte.