The September Massacres

The September Massacres were a set of paranoid reactions to the looming possibility of an Austrian assault on Paris (Dwyer and McPhee, 66-67). During this five-day period the confused and angry masses of Paris would execute close to 1,500 prisoners at the Abbaye, the Carmes, and La Force Prison (Shusterman, 135-138). The Massacre also occurred due to the power vacuum created by the relative inactivity of the Assembly and the newly formed Commune prior to the event itself (Shusterman, 131-137). The Legislative Assembly took a somewhat active role in attempting to quell these violent demonstrations and acts, while the Commune and influential figures like Danton and Robespierre remained idle or called upon other cities to follow the example of the Parisians (Shusterman, 138). The Massacre signified the need for political reconciliation in France’s legislative bodies, as this event only widened the gap between the Girondins and the Jacobins (Shusterman, 140-141). It also served as a precursor to the Reign of Terror under Robespierre, which would create a profound communal sense of uproar that would turn Paris into a city plagued by bloodlust and turmoil.