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How did Lenin and Robespierre’s views on revolutionary leadership differ?

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Lenin and Robespierre viewed revolutionary leadership in very different ways. Lenin was concerned with creating an organization and strategy that would show the political independence of the working class. He would have not cared what country he was doing it just that it was done somewhere so the world could have an example. Robespierre was absolutely a nationalist, everything he did he was doing for the good of France. He did not care about the workers or any other country.

The two revolutions were very different. The Russian revolution was not a blowout and they could have very easily lost. Lenin’s whole effort was to have the proletariat dominate Europe; his means for doing this were to capitalize on the crisis of capitalism. Lenin was able to lead as a dictator in a government that was supposedly ruled by the workers. He was able to keep his control on the country without having to kill too many people. Lenin was a master at propaganda and he was able to convince the population that his leadership was necessary because of problems that needed solved, this is very similar to Robespierre who was only listened to because of the crisis France was in.

The French revolution was one sided the lower class rose up and easily destroyed the monarchy. Robespierre came to power as the head of the committee of public safety even though he had no other government experience. He was a radical nationalist and believed that his morality was incorruptible. After the tennis court oath Robespierre began to rise in popularity in the Jacobins club. Robespierre leaded by doing, he viciously attacked the views of the Girondists, Hebertists, and the Dantonists. When appointed to the committee of public safety he began to see any attack on his leadership as an attack on France.

This is because he considered his views as the general will of the French public. Robespierre’s main leadership tool during the reign of terror was terror, but this was a double sided guillotine, this also installed a sense of courage and desperation into the hearts of his enemies, because they had nothing to lose. Robespierre’s leadership was transforming, France was definitely inspired by his initial actions and his concept of morality, his leadership however was not changing along with France. There came a point where his leadership no longer fitted with the type required by France and he was eliminated.

There were many differences between these two. The main one was that Lenin was able to live out his term and die a peaceful death while Robespierre was executed. Robespierre was a nationalist and Lenin was a revolutionary communist.

Similarities are that they both ruled through dictatorships and called them republics and communists. They also both succeeded in the revolution but both of the governments that they founded were to ultimately fail, the French in 1975 and the Russians in 1989.

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