Document Type

Presentation

Publication Date

4-30-2016

Abstract

This paper seeks to explain and dismantle the negative reputation French Revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre has accrued over the last three hundred years. Though considerable efforts have been made to improve his legacy since his execution in 1794, stereotypical portrait of Robespierre as an unfeeling dictator has maintained popularity for centuries. Historians hostile to Robespierre have routinely relied upon dubious sources and political bias in order to justify their depictions of Robespierre as everything from a bloodthirsty murderer to an unfeeling ideologue. This paper reexamines and critiques these representations, as well as the gendered ways in which Robespierre is often interpreted in academic and popular history. Largely ignored by even his greatest supporters, the persistent portrayal of Robespierre as abnormally effeminate has allowed historians to reimagine his revolutionary worth in ahistoric and homophobic ways detrimental to the study of the French Revolution.

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