Political trials as events
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Political trials as events book
After the revolutionary overthrow of the monarchy in France, the question of the fate of Louis XVI is posed before the Convention. The ‘sublime’ revolutionary Saint-Just dismisses in the following terms the Girondins’ suggestion to ‘appeal to the People’ over the question of whether the deposed King should stand trial: ‘Those who attach importance to the just punishment of a king will never establish a democracy.’ Two weeks later, in his address to the Convention, Robespierre will seal the fate of Louis XVI:
[p]eople doubt whether he is guilty, whether it is permitted to treat him like the enemy. The Constitution is invoked in his favour. I do not intend to repeat here all the unanswerable arguments developed by those who deign to answer objections of that sort. On this matter I will say a word for the beneﬁt of those whom they have not convinced. The constitution forbade everything that you have done … You have no right at all to hold him in prison. He has the right to ask you for his release and for damages and interest. The Constitution condemns you: fall at Louis XVI’s feet and ask for his clemency!