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9 Thermidor is a date under the French Revolutionary Calendar. It usually refers to 9 Thermidor Year II, July 27 1794. On this day Robespierre and Saint-Just came under a concerted and organised attack from members of the Committee of Public Safety; Robespierre gambled and appealed to the deputies of the right to support him, however the deputies of the Right rejected his appeal and the Committee almost unanimously voted against them, and executed (without trial) Robespierre, his supporters, and members of the Paris Commune the following day.
The 9 Thermidor represents the final throes of the Reign of Terror. With Robespierre the sole remaining strong man of the Revolution, (following the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat, and the executions of Georges Danton and Jacques Hébert), his apparently total grasp on power was, in fact, increasingly illusory, especially insofar as he seemed to have support from factions to his right. His only real political power at this time lay in the Jacobin Club, which had extended itself beyond the borders of Paris and into the country as a network of "Popular Societies". His tight personal control of the military and his distrust of military might and of banks, along with his opposition to corrupt individuals in government, made Robespierre the subject of a number of conspiracies. The conspiracies came together on 9 Thermidor (July 27) when members of the national bodies of the revolutionary government arrested Robespierre, as well as arresting the leaders of the Paris city government.
Not all of the conspiratorial groupings were ideological in motivation; many who conspired against Robespierre did so for strong practical and personal reasons, most notably self-preservation. The surviving Dantonists, such as Merlin de Thionville for example, wanted revenge for the death of Danton and, more importantly, to protect their own heads.
The Left were opposed to Robespierre on the grounds that he supported the concept of God.
The prime mover, however, for the events of 9 Thermidor was a Montagnard conspiracy, led by Jean Lambert Tallien and Bourdon de l'Oise , which was gradually coalescing, and was to come to pass at the time when the Montagnards had finally swayed the deputies of the Right over to their side.
On 9 Thermidor, in the Hall of Liberty in Paris, Saint-Just was impugned by Tallien whilst he was reading a report to the Committee of Public Safety, and who then went on to denounce the tyranny of Robespierre. The attack was taken up by Billaud-Varenne. Robespierre leapt to Saint-Just's defence. Cries went up of 'Down with the tyrant! Arrest him!' Robespierre then made his appeal to the deputies of the Right, "Deputies of the Right, men of honour, men of virtue, give me the floor, since the assassins will not." However, the Right was decided, and a debate to arrest Robespierre and his followers ensued which led to the end of Robespierre's rule.
The death of Robespierre
Certainly, the events of 9 Thermidor were to prove a watershed in the revolutionary process. The "Thermidorian" regime that followed was, at the very least, less rigid, ending the Reign of Terror and allowing for more individual liberty, especially in areas of religion. At the same time, its economic policies paved the way for rampant inflation. Ultimately, power devolved to the hands of the Directory, an executive of five men who assumed power in France in year 3 of the French Revolution.
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