Marat calls for “general insurrection” (1790)


In his December 18th 1790 edition of L’Ami du Peuple, Jean-Paul called for a “general insurrection” and “popular executions”:

“It is not on the frontiers, but in the capital that we must rain down our blows. Stop wasting time thinking up means of defence. There is only one means of defence for you. That which I have recommended so many times: a general insurrection and popular executions.

Begin then by making sure of the king, the dauphin and the royal family: put them under a strong guard and let their heads answer for events. Follow this up by cutting off, without hesitation, the general’s head, and those of the counter-revolutionary ministers and ex-ministers; those of the mayor and the anti-revolutionary municipal councillors; then put all [counter-revolutionaries in] the National Assembly, all the known supporters of despotism, on the edge of the sword.

I tell you again, this is the only way which remains for you to save the country. Six months ago, five or six hundred heads would have been enough to pull you back from the abyss. Today because you have stupidly let your implacable enemies conspire among themselves and gather strength, perhaps we will have to cut off five or six thousand. But even if it needs twenty thousand, there is no time for hesitation.”