Ok...bad person's back. Bad person just watched BBC's “Terror: Robespierre and the French Revolution”
which managed to make her loathe every single member of the Committee. Bad person also begs for mercy because she doesn't want to get guillotined for saying this (especially in this thread).
"Terror: Robespierre and the French Revolution" is a very bad
documentary. It takes two very, very biased and polarized historians and pits them against each other: Schama, whose overt vilification of Robespierre is eyeroll-inducing, and Slavoj Žižek who, as the world's biggest Robespierre apologist, is equally difficult to swallow. Between the two of them, you can't possibly get a good reading on who Robespierre was, not when one is directly comparing Robespierre to Hitler and the other thinks revolutionary bloodshed is "totally awesome, you guys!" (not a direct quote, but possible. "I paraphrase, I paraphrase.") The whole thing is a sensationalized account that leaves a lot of important factual information completely out and doesn't give us a moderate Robespierrist to even the playing ground.
Robespierre is usually portrayed as the ultimate villain of the French Revolution because we're looking at him through the tint of present-day culture and society. (Those of us in English-speaking countries have the added benefit of not only viewing him and the Revolution from a distinctly 21st Century standpoint, but because England went to war with France at the time and was afraid for its own Monarchy, there has always been distinct anti-French-Revolution feeling, even though it brought a lot of good to the world.)
Before you decide whether you think you hate him or not, you should look into more sources, especially primary ones. Avoid stuff written by Schama, because even though he wrote "Citizens," the French Revolution isn't really his passion or main area of expertise. It's sort of a fun game to play, keeping an eye out for buzzwords like "Robespierre was overthrown
" that tell you where an author or article's bias lies. Robespierre is a gray area. You're free to make of that gray area what you will, but make sure you give yourself every opportunity to better understand it/him before you turn into a hate-spewing Simon Schama!
(Or a "he can do no wrong" screeching Slavoj Žižek.)
Also, I started reading "A Place of Greater Safety" this week. The fact (assuming the author's not making things up) that Robespierre and Desmoulins were childhood friends breaks my brain a little.
Hooray for this! "A Place of Greater Safety" is so much fun, one of my favorites. Yes, Camille and Robespierre went to school together and in some accounts were childhood friends. At the greatest stretch: they were close, and at the least: they definitely knew each other.