Committee of Public Safety
Rue du liberty
January 17, 1793
From: M. Robespierre, National Convention of France
We approach a major crisis of our revolution. Your intense work, describe below, will help save the revolution. This impending crisis is the greatest challenge the revolution has faced since 1789.
Yesterday the National Convention voted 361 to 360 to take the final step to democracy. It voted to eliminate the tradition of monarchy in this nation. Citizen Capet, formerly known as Louis XVI, will be executed before the end of this month. We tried peaceful means first. We abolished the monarchy by law, but many in France want to see monarchy restored and Louis Capet placed back on that restored throne. Displaced members of the French nobility and supporters of monarchy brought Austria and Prussia into war against us. Meanwhile, Capet has become a symbol and rallying cry of those who support the old order. He must be removed. We may also have to eliminate members of his family in the months ahead. This act of regicide will mobilize enemies of the revolution all over Europe to move more seriously against us, and those enemies will be quick to join the enemies of revolution here at home to try to re-establish the authority of church, nobility, and monarchy. France is already at war against the Holy Roman Empire and Prussia. We can expect Britain and Spain, and perhaps Russia, to war against us as well.
France desperately needs allies. France has an ally in the newly independent United States of America, with whom France signed a military alliance in 1778. France sent soldiers and ships to support the Americans, and that support helped the Americans win their independence. America threw off control of the British monarchy and established a society without kings, titled nobility, or powerful land owning Church. Now it is time for the Americans to help France complete its revolution and establish a society without nobility and Church. The American government has so far not see the situation very clearly. President Washington has made statements about avoiding war and conflict but not about supporting France.
We are sending Citizen Genet as a diplomatic representative to the United States in about four weeks to ask the United States to join France in its war against oppression and tradition.
Your task is to give Genet the help he needs to convince the Americans to join us. Review French and American ideas. Use them to convince the Americans that we are fighting for their cause. Prepare short articles for publication in American newspapers explaining our case to the public, inspiring them to pressure their government into supporting us.
We need your reviews and your articles for publication in three weeks at the latest. We know this is challenging, but the fate of our revolution lies in your hands.
M. Robespierre for the National Convention of France
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