The Overthrow of Robespierre


Location: 117 O'Shaughnessy

Colin Jones, a professor of history at Queen Mary University of London will be presenting his lecture, "The Overthrow of Robespierre" on Monday, November 9, at 5:00 PM in 117 O'Shaughnessy Hall.  A reception will follow immediately after in the Great Hall, with appetizers and drinks.

Colin Jones is Professor of History at Queen Mary University of London. He spent 2014-15 as Carl and Lila Pforzheim Fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. He has published many books and articles on French history, especially on the 18th century, the French Revolution and the history of mediicne. His most recent books include Paris: Biography of a City (2004), The Saint-Aubin Book of Caricatures: Drawing Satire in 18th-century Paris (co-edited, 2013) and The Smile Revolution in 18th-century Paris, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2014.

The overthrow of Robespierre on 9 Thermidor Year II (27 August 1794) is an acknowledged turning-point in the history of the French revolution, leading to a withdrawal from the Terror under which France had been governed since 1793. It is generally accepted that Robespierre contributed to his own downfall by launching an attack on the goverment of which he had formed part on 8 thermidor. However, his motives have always remained unclear. Did he wish to exacerbate the Terror, or end it? In this paper I will explore a new approach to what has always been a major historical conundrum: what did Robespierre really want?