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Robespierre and the Festival of the Supreme BeingThe Search for a Republican Morality$
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Jonathan Smyth

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781526103789

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526103789.001.0001

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Towards a new republican morality

Towards a new republican morality

(p.10) 1 Towards a new republican morality
Robespierre and the Festival of the Supreme Being

Jonathan Smyth

Manchester University Press

This chapter attempts to evaluate and examine the development of Robespierre’s thinking on the subject of public morality from his first writing on the subject in his Essay in 1789 from his early speeches to the Assembly and the Jacobin Club through his five great speeches of 1973-4. It traces the development of Robespierre’s language though his references to public virtue and probity and his insistence on the interdependence of freedom and public morality from his speech in defence of religious liberty on 1 Frimaire Year 2 (21 November 1793) though his speech on 17 Pluviôse (5 February 1794) on the moral principles which must guide the nation, the speech which introduced the Great Terror and leading finally to his speech of 18 Floréal (7 May 1794) inviting France to accept the twin principles of a Supreme Being and of the immortality of the soul and establishing not only the Festival to be held on 20 Prairial (8th June 1794) but also a further thirty-five minor festivals to be held during the year.

Keywords:   Robespierre, Major speeches, Public morality, Religious liberty, Freedom, Supreme Being

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