The Cult of the Supreme Being was the Committee of Public Safety’s last major reform before it fell from power in late July 1794. It collapsed once the Committee’s support had gone and attempts by the Directory to create a similar civic religion between 1795 and 1799 had a similar fate. Only Napoleon’s restoration of the Catholic Church through his Concordat with Pius VII in 1801 provided a short term answer to the bitter conflict which had opened up between the church and the revolutionary state . Yet although a failure, religious reform was just one part of a wider suite of social and moral changes which the Committee put in place to regenerate French society and create a ‘new man’ free from the prejudices of the ancien regime. Most revolutions since have done something similar, reflecting a belief common to most revolutions that a new regime founded on the ‘will of the people’ has a duty to change peoples’ mentalities and create new value systems. The changes brought in during the terror were an attempt to do just that and, based as they were on the core values of Jacobinism, provide an insight into the kind of society which the Committee of Public Safety hoped to establish.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Creating New Citizens for the New Republic
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number