The Reign of Terror (5 September 1793 – 28 July 1794), also known simply as The Terror (French: la Terreur), was a period of violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of "enemies of the revolution". The death toll ranged in the tens of thousands, with 16,594 executed by guillotine (2,639 in Paris), and another 25,000 in summary executions across France.
The guillotine (called the "National Razor") became the symbol of the revolutionary cause, strengthened by a string of executions: King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, the Girondins, Philippe Égalité (Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans), and Madame Roland, and others such as pioneering chemist Antoine Lavoisier, lost their lives under its blade. During 1794, revolutionary France was beset with conspiracies by internal and foreign enemies. Within France, the revolution was opposed by the French nobility, which had lost its inherited privileges. The Roman Catholic Church was generally against the Revolution, which had turned the clergy into employees of the state and required they take an oath of loyalty to the nation (through the Civil Constitution of the Clergy). In addition, the First French Republic was engaged in a series of wars with neighboring powers intent on crushing the revolution to prevent its spread.
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever. In a vernacular sense, the term "political philosophy" often refers to a general view, or specific ethic, political belief or attitude, about politics that does not necessarily belong to the technical discipline of philosophy. In short, political philosophy is the activity, as with all philosophy, whereby the conceptual apparatus behind such concepts as aforementioned are analyzed, in their history, intent, evolution and the like.
Direct democracy (also known as pure democracy) is a form of democracy in which people decide (e.g. vote on, form consensus on, etc.) policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then decide policy initiatives. Depending on the particular system in use, it might entail passing executive decisions, the use of sortition, making laws, directly electing or dismissing officials and conducting trials. Two leading forms of direct democracy are participatory democracy and deliberative democracy.
Most countries that are representative democracies]citation needed[ allow for three forms of political action that provide limited direct democracy: referendum (plebiscite), initiative, and recall. Referendums can include the ability to hold a binding vote on whether a given law should be rejected. This effectively grants the populace which holds suffrage a veto on a law adopted by the elected legislature (one nation to use this system is Switzerland). Initiatives, usually put forward by members of the general public, compel the consideration of laws (usually in a subsequent referendum) without the consent of the elected representatives, or even against their expressed opposition. Recalls give public the power to remove elected officials from office before the end of their term, although this is very rare in modern democracies. Writers with anarchist sympathies have argued that direct democracy is opposed to a strong central authority, as decision making power can only reside at one level – with the people themselves or with the central authority. Some of the most important modern thinkers who were inspired by the concept of direct democracy are Cornelius Castoriadis, Hannah Arendt, and Pierre Clastres.]citation needed[
The Red Terror in Soviet Russia refers to a campaign of mass killings, torture, and systematic oppression conducted by the Bolsheviks after seizing power in Petrograd and Moscow. In Soviet historiography, the Red Terror is described as having been officially announced on September 2, 1918 by Yakov Sverdlov and ended about October 1918. However, many historians, beginning with Sergei Melgunov, apply this term to political repression during the whole period of the Russian Civil War, 1918–1922. The mass repressions were conducted by the Cheka (the Bolshevik secret police), together with elements of the Bolshevik military intelligence agency (the GRU).
Revolutionary terror (also referred to as Revolutionary terrorism, or a "reign of terror")) refers to the institutionalized application of force to counterrevolutionaries, particularly during the French Revolution from the years 1793 to 1794. The term Communist terrorism has also been used to describe the revolutionary terror, from the Red Terror in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) to the reign of the Khmer Rouge, and others.
In contrast the reactionary terror, such as white terror, has been used to subdue revolutions.]citation needed[