Does the End Justify the Means? Analyzing Robespierre’s Rationale for Terror

Two quotes are relevant to our discussion and understanding of the TERROR during the french revolution:

“By any means necessary” and “does the end justify the means?”  Both of these quotes contain within them assumptions about ethical systems.  They both presume that if the outcome is good, then the way in which you achieve the outcome does not matter.  All that matters is creating the most good for the most people (utilitarianism..i’ll cover this in class!), and if doing so requires violation of ethics or morality in the process, it’s ok because the end result is what is truly important.

Download both a copy of Robespierre’s Speech to the National Assembly below as well as the corresponding Learning Helper (formative assessment) designed to aide in your critical analysis of the document:

Robespierre’s Speech to the National Convention

Robespierre’s Speech LH