The day of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794) is universally acknowledged as a major turning-point in the history of the French Revolution. At 12.00 midnight, Maximilien Robespierre, the most prominent member of the Committee of Public Safety which had for more than a year directed the Reign of Terror, was planning to destroy one of the most dangerous plots that the Revolution had faced. By 12.00 midnight at the close of the day, following a day of uncertainty, surprises, upsets and reverses, his world had been turned upside down. He was an outlaw, on the run, and himself wanted for conspiracy against the Republic. He felt that his whole life and his Revolutionary career were drawing to an end. As indeed they were. He shot himself shortly afterwards. Half-dead, the guillotine finished him off in grisly fashion the next day. The Fall of Robespierre provides an hour-by-hour analysis of these 24 hours.
Colin Jones was educated at Oxford and is professor of history at Queen Mary University of London. Jones has also taught at Newcastle, Exeter, Warwick, Stanford, Renmin, and Paris VIII universities. He has held research positions at Princeton, the Collège de France, Columbia University’s Paris campus, and the National Humanities Center, North Carolina. From 2012–15, Jones held a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship on his current research project, which focuses on the day of 9 Thermidor when Robespierre was overthrown.