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Title: Reassessing revolutionary justice : suspects, the Paris Revolutionary Tribunal and the Terror in France, 1793-4
Author: Fairfax-Cholmeley, Alexander
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University of London
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
The thesis offers a reappraisal of a particular aspect of the Terror in France: the system of revolutionary justice that developed during the course of 1793 and 1794. Through a series of laws between March 1793 and 22 prairial Year II (10 June 1794) central government sought to define and punish 'counter-revolutionary' activity, deemed a potentially fatal threat to the internal security of a nation at war with much of Europe. At the heart of this system stood the tribunal criminel et extraordinaire in Paris - later named the Revolutionary Tribunal - which had jurisdiction over the entire country in such cases. The basic premise of the thesis is that historians to date have perpetuated a misleading image of those affected by the Terror as helpless victims of state repression, and that this is due in large part to the fact that our understanding of the revolutionary judicial system is . simplistic. The thesis aims to do two things: first, restore the suspect as an active protagonist fn the narrative of the period; second, chart the extent to which there was space for suspects and their defences to exploit within the system organised around the Paris Tribunal. Part One looks at the basic mechanics of the judicial Terror, a chain that stretched out from the capital all over France. The analysis charts the changes and continuities both within the system that was providing the Paris Tribunal with cases, and in the record of this institution in dealing with them. It includes detailed examination of many of the mechanisms /f the Terror, from local investigations of alleged counter-revolutionary offences through to the work of the Paris Tribunal itself. Part Two focuses on how defences were constructed under this system of revolutionary justice, and the impact such efforts had. Not only does this highlight how active suspects themselves were in their own defence, but new evidence is also presented showing that large numbers benefitted from the support of the wider community as well.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.552753  DOI: Not available
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