Color portrait of French radical Jacobin leader Maximilien de Robespierre.

Maximilien Robespierre

(1758 - 1794)

Maximilien Robespierre began his political career in 1789 at the age of thirty, well known as a lawyer advocating for the rights of the poor. He became a leading advocate for the principle of terror—“nothing but prompt, severe, inflexible justice.” Robespierre was declared an outlaw by the National Convention and guillotined in front of a cheering crowd on July 28, 1794.

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I am no courtesan, nor moderator, nor tribune, nor defender of the people: I am myself the people.

—Maximilien Robespierre, 1792

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