Front Page Titles (by Subject) 130.: On the September Massacres - Judgments on History and Historians
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130.: On the September Massacres - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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On the September Massacres
(I) The main connecting force was Marat’s thirst for blood and the need to cover depredations and irregularities by a great deed of terror and by exerting the greatest possible influence on the Convention elections.
When some saw that something horrible was about to happen, they joined in and put themselves at the head, so that it would not happen without them. Thus Danton placed himself beside Marat.
Only those who participated now could have hopes of continuing in control once terror had been grafted onto the Revolution.
Paris has three dates of this kind: 1418, 1572, and 1792, not counting 1357–1358 and 1381–1382.
However, the murdering of numerous common criminals and accused indicates that this time, except for a number of aristocrats, Swiss officers, and the insermentés [the unsworn]—those to whom Danton made the cross at the edge—no specific vengeance was sought, but bloodshed per se, in order to give the Revolution its true temper. On the other hand, that moral indignation was not involved here is borne out by the fact that prisons were opened and rogues were released, so that for a week nobody was safe from robbery in the streets. Both things were done so as to have prison space available for new victims.
Once more the scepter was to be secured for the Commune of Paris through the Terror, and, if possible, permanently. Since they were and remained a small minority and knew it, they had to stick together.
What is desired is murder per se, which from now on is to become the temper of the Revolution.
(II) Regarding the elections to the Convention: The Commune of Paris wants the new Assembly to be elected in its spirit and to have a Paris complexion.
The disclaimers of premeditation (Villiaumé, Louis Blanc) do not realize the inner barbarism they betray in exculpating the secret committee and accusing Paris as such, and in forcibly welding together the murders with the defense of the fatherland. Paris had to do these things, so that Marat, Robespierre, Billaud, Danton, Manuel, and others may come off passably well. The September massacres inspire the Revolution with the murderous temperament.
The September massacres simply mark the beginning of the Terror, i.e., the general aplatissement [crushing], and no matter how political things may appear at times in the Convention, actually the fear of the Commune and its henchmen is always there.
The September days, just like the 31st of May later, are another Parisization of the Revolution. Paris brings the Terror into the Revolution, first of all in order to produce elections of this complexion in the entire country.
The main effect was in the direction of the evil development of the Revolution. The guilty ones had to destroy those (the Girondists) who made accusations against them because of it.