Front Page Titles (by Subject) 139.: On Robespierre - Judgments on History and Historians
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139.: On Robespierre - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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(I) What makes Robespierre’s figure so insufferable is his utter impotence in trying to seize the dictatorship; he presumably took this impotence for virtuousness. To be sure, he can no longer see anyone above him or beside him without feeling an envious destructive rage. But he does not even himself desire to rule because he has no positive program and his agrarian project is not even meant seriously.
(II) Camille Desmoulins wrote (around the autumn of 1793): “On a dit qu’en tout pays absolu c’ était un grand moyen pour réussir que d’être médiocre. Je vois que cela peut être υrai des pays républicains.” [It has been said that in every absolutist country a great way to be successful was to be mediocre. I see that this can be true of republican countries.] (This would fit Robespierre and also apply strikingly to certain republics.)
(III) Periods which face the alternative between anarchy and some government, no matter how wretched and violent it may be, do choose the latter.