How the revolution would have developed if the terror had continued beyond the summer of 1794 is difficult to predict. The Ventôse legislation would have done little to help the poor, because the amount of land belonging to political suspects was too small to solve their problems and most of them lived in towns and cities where land would have been of little use. The payments promised in the charity decree of May would certainly have helped widows, the sick and the old to survive, but the amounts were small and would only have brought marginal relief. The Cult of Supreme Being got off to a spectacular start but had no chance of developing into a religion capable of rivalling Christianity, because it was closely linked to the terror and too abstract for ordinary people who wanted their priest and the traditional calendar of feast days and saints back. On the other hand, there is every reason to believe that the guillotine would have carried on working. There were almost 8000 prisoners in Parisian jails by late July 1794 and the number was steadily rising. Executions would have had to carry on for months to eliminate them all and, even then, the subsequent transition to peaceful democracy would have been almost impossible.
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