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Committee of Public Safety

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


English name for the Comité de Salut Public, the body which was central to the direction of the terror that emerged amid the development of the french revolution of 1789. In January 1793 the convention had created a Committee of General Defense to coordinate the French war effort (see french revolutionary wars ), which up to this point had met with a series of reverses, and that led to the creation in April 1793 of the more specialized Committee of Public Safety. Initially comprising nine members who were renewed monthly – though this number was expanded to twelve in June and renewal became a formality – the Committee sat in secret, overseeing internal and external security issues and reporting to the Convention. From the summer, the Committee came increasingly to be dominated by the personality of robespierre , who acted as its apologist. It now took on a wider portfolio, supervising all organs of government including its rival, the Committee of General Security, as well as generals and the representatives on mission, though finance always lay outside its remit. Following the fall of Robespierre in July 1794 ( thermidor year II in the nomenclature of the revolutionary calendar), the personnel of the Committee was altered and it lost its primacy in government, disappearing altogether under the directory . ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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