The spring and summer of 1794 saw the execution rate soar. More people were guillotined in Paris during June and July, in what came to be known as the ‘Great Terror’, than during the whole of the previous fifteen months since the revolutionary tribunal had been set up. The sight and stench of blood around the scaffold on the Place de la Révolution became so nauseating that the guillotine was moved out to the present day Place de la Bastille in the belief that people there, in a predominantly sans-culotte area, would welcome it. Yet even they complained that the smell of blood was ruining their trade, so it was moved further out to the south-eastern outskirts of the city, to the present day Place de la Nation. The corpses of victims guillotined there were stripped and dumped into a large mass grave in the garden of an adjoining convent. Yet, even as the guillotine did its grim work and the execution rate soared to over thirty a day, the Committee of Public Safety brought in reforms to reward the virtuous and prepare the way for a new post-war republican society. These included a new civic religion designed to replace Christianity and a social welfare scheme aimed at improving the lives of the poor and the sick.
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