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Friday, May 31, 2013

Through The Ages - Cards - Maximilien Robespierre

This is a series of blogs written about each card in Through The Ages.  To find more, simply click on "Cards" label.
Maximilien Robespierre
History
Born 6 May 1785 in Arras, France, Maximilien Francois Marie Isidore de Robespierre was raised by his maternal grandfather and aunts, his mother having died 6 years after his birth while his father traveled around the world.  He would take up the family business by becoming a lawyer.  Growing up in pre-revolutionary France, Robespierre was an vocal critic of the French monarchy.  He advocated democratic reforms and the ability of the people to rule themselves.

In 1782 he was admitted to the political organization: the Society of the Friends of the Constitution, also known as the Jacobin Club.  As time progressed, the older and more conservative members of the Jacobin Club left, a younger and more leftward leaning group took charge.  In 1790 Robespierre was elected in charge of the Jacobin Club and the nation was ripe for the French Revolution.

Robespierre constructed much of the original French Constitution, promoting France as a Constitutional Monarchy.  However, in early 1792 the ideals of Robespierre and the Jacobins came under attack by a political group desiring military aggression against Austria.  Robespierre opposed the war, stating that such an action would only lead to Generals gaining control and restoring the Monarchy.  Despite his arguments, the Assembly voted for War, and as the war progressed horribly for the French.  The Jacobin's managed to maintain popularity, but only by embracing the French Mobs.  The political situation in France was degenerating.

The French Revolution fully erupted in September of 1792 with the trial of the King of France.  Robespierre originally fought to keep the King as a figurehead, but sensing a shift in public opinion by and self-incriminating evidence by the King himself, Robespierre changed his argument which was used to convict the King.  Robespierre fought a losing battle against the Death Penalty, and the Kings' execution took place.

Fearing the rise of a military dictator, the Committee of Public Safety was formed with the power to execute anyone they found suspicious of attempting to seize power in the summer of 1793.  With this tool at their hand, the Jacobins began a 'Reign of Terror', in which anyone suspected of trying to subvert democracy and consolidate power was beheaded.  The Committee of Public Safety, with Robespierre at its head, would go on to kill between 30,000 and 40,000 people.  As the killings continued, Robespierre demanded additional changes to the constitution which suited his way of thinking.  Many of these concepts were unpopular with the people, and as Robespierre's power grew, his popularity waned.

Robespierre became the de facto ruler of France.  His word would cause others to tremble, even as he attempted to promote freedoms for the people.  The world of France spiraled out of control as assassinations became a normal means of promoting ideas.  An attempt on Robespierre's life was unsuccessful in early 1794.

Unable to kill him secretly, his political opponents used the very instrument he created against him.  They denounced Robespierre, targeting him as a dictator attempting to seize control of the state through political manipulation.  They used as evidence his involvement in the death of anyone who differed to radically from his ideals through the Committee of Public Safety.  Guilty just by this suspicion, Robespierre was unable to defend himself.  On 28 July 1794, Robespierre's head was placed in the guillotine and executed, without trial, by the very organization he created.
Game Stats
Robespierre has two abilities: the addition of a military action per turn, and the remarkable ability to permit a revolutionary change of government through the loss of all military actions for the turn.  Robespierre is a popular leader, and this win statistics show the correctness of his popularity.
Opinions
Robespierre's popularity comes from both of his abilities.  It is interesting that his "+1 Military action" ability is almost offset by his "revolutionary" ability.  When played, Robespierre's "revolutionary" ability is almost always used.  This goes with the fact that, although Military actions are important and the game is viewed as "a wargame", it's civilian "economics" core still reigns supreme.

Scientifically, Robespierre may be viewed as on par with Isaac Newton.  Newton (discussed later) will generate roughly about 10 science, but will also generate around 3 or 4 additional Civil Actions.  Robespierre will save roughly 7 to 13 Science through the revolution.  Furthermore, the new government will generate roughly 5 Civil Actions and 10 Military Actions.

From this analysis, I view Robespierre as both a Military leader and Science leader.
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