The events of 5 September saw radical activists and sans-culottes force the Committee of Public Safety and the Convention into reinforcing the use of terror against political suspects and food speculators. Their pressure remained strong for much of September, and in October it intensified with a full scale attack on Christianity which closed churches throughout most of the country. The Committee of Public Safety struggled to contain the pressure and protect constitutional government by ensuring that radicals did not wholly dictate the political agenda. It gave way on some issues and took pre-emptive action to head off trouble on others. Yet it also stepped up the scale of terror and reinforced its own powers to tackle the threats of federalism, the Vendée and the war. In effect it was fighting on two fronts, against the republic’s enemies and against its own sans-culotte allies, but by the end of the year its efforts were beginning to succeed and things were beginning to move in its direction. The federalist revolt was defeated, the Vendée brought under control and the First Coalition’s armies forced to retreat. The republic was safe and the Committee of Public Safety developed into a war cabinet, able to impose its authority in a way which would have seemed impossible just three months before.
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