Values of the revolutionary culture

The French National Anthem, written by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle clearly demonstrates the values of the French Revolution. Copies were given to revolutionary forces and it became widespread and well known, so as to inspire and motivate the revolutionaries. One stanza reads, “To arms, citizens! Form up your battalions. Let us march, Let us march! That their impure blood. Should water our fields.” This clearly reveals the blatant violence and fierceness that fueled the revolution. The anthem was composed in 1792, the year the king was executed and the beginning of the period of Terror that would see more than 40,000 people executed. The bloodthirsty nature of the anthem reflects the violence occurring in France during this time and shows that the values were war and violence based, encouraging death to gain liberty, and shedding blood, as the only way to achieve their goal. 

The Cult of the Supreme Being seems at first to encourage more peaceful values than La Marseilles. However upon further reading it is obvious that the document also encourages violence and war. Robespierre states that those actions are justified because that is what God would have wanted. Robespierre says that He did not create anything or anyone to harm the human race, but rather to love and care for each other. However, since these values of compassion towards others are not being upheld, those who go against it must be killed, “Perish the tyrants who have dared to break it!”. War is encouraged in the author’s stating that the earth must be purified of those who go against God, and those who are evil, thus fueling the violent nature of the revolution.


One thought on “Values of the revolutionary culture

  1. I thought it was very interesting how you brought up the contradiction in Robespierre’s doctrine. God crafted man to be loving and kind to one another but those who seem to uphold the different views of God should be punished by means of death. The revolution seemed to be fueled by vengeance and a violent way of exterminating those who are not of the same standards. This also seems to connect somewhat with an earlier post about some of Karl Marx’s words and ideals being similar to those of Robespierre’s .

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