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Colin Jones

The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris

Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 5:00pm

Zoom / Social Science Research Building, Tea Room (second floor)

This is a hybrid event, and registration via the link above is required for both in-person and virtual participation.

Please join us to celebrate Colin Jones’s recent publication, The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris (Oxford University Press, 2021). Jones will be joined in conversation by 3CT fellow William H. Sewell Jr., Paul Cheney, and Mauricio Tenorio.

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 CBE is Professor of History at Queen Mary University of London and Visiting Professor in the Department of History at the University of Chicago. He has published widely on French history, particularly on the eighteenth century, the French Revolution, and the history of medicine. His many books include The Medical World of Early Modern France (with Lawrence Brockliss, 1997), The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon (2002), Paris: Biography of a City (2004: winner of the Enid MacLeod Prize) and The Smile Revolution: In Eighteenth-Century Paris (2014). He is a Fellow of the British Academy and Past President, Royal Historical Society.

This event is free and open to the public; registration is required. Please email us at if you require any accommodations to enable your full participation.

Presented by 3CT and co-sponsored by the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

Please note: This convening is open to all invitees who are compliant with UChicago vaccination requirements and, because of ongoing health risks, particularly to the unvaccinated, participants are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures (masking and social distancing, etc.) appropriate to their vaccination status as advised by public health officials or to their individual vulnerabilities as advised by a medical professional. Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures. Visitors to campus should be in compliance with both the City’s travel advisory and UChicago’s visitors guidance.