Both George Danton and Thomas More were revolutionary and very controversial men for their time periods. Though, living in completely different eras these men share some similarities and differences. We can see how their ideals, status, accomplishments, and personal lives are all portrayed and developed throughout the movies and readings. As a result this better helps show how both men are different in some ways and very similar in others.
The first part of this essay will predominantly focus on George Danton. The first few paragraphs will examine his status, accomplishments, and ideologies, and they will serve to develop how an individual can differentiate between him and Thomas More. It will also lay the foundation for building connections between both of men.
For starters, Danton predominantly rose to fame due to his role in the french revolution during the Reign of Terror. The Reign of Terror was a time in which revolutionaries took over the French government and executed many people over suspicion of going against the ideologies set by the revolution. During the revolution, Danton was not only an orator for the war but he was also an important leader. He aided in the overthrow of the monarchy, was one of the founders of the First French Republic, and was a part of the storming of the Bastille. Overall, Danton in comparison to dozens of other leaders played an extensive role in the revolution.
Further examining Danton he was not only a leader of the French Revolution but also a leader in many organizations and boards. Danton was appointed as the first president of the Committee of Public Safety, he was also a member of the New National Committee where he had gained upper league status. During his time as a member of the New National Committee, he had high hopes of defeating and taking down the Girondist. Girondists where a group of businessmen, merchants, lawyers, and many more. The Girondists were a group of people who predominantly had strong republican views and opposing ideals in comparison to Danton’s. Ultimately Georges Danton was able to obliterate the Girondist, and as a result, the New National Committee was able to quickly rise to dominance.
Next, Georges Danton’s death played a large role in signifying the end of the Reign of Terror in France. Georges Danton was arrested and imprisoned in 1794 on the grounds of illegal financial misconduct. Sometime later he was executed at the guillotine for his wrongdoings. His death and Robespierre’s death marked the end of the Reign of Terror because their deaths caused large domino effects that impacted French society.
Looking at Georges Danton, an individual is able to grasp how he played a vital role in the French Revolution and the development of French society. Though being a leader, many of his ideologies and political views were not always looked upon happily by others. As a result, an individual can see how not only his ideals but also his, achievements, and death all played a significant role in the Reign of Terror but also in its collapse of it.
The last paragraphs of this essay will mostly examine Thomas More. The paragraphs will focus on his ideologies, his achievements, his personality, and his death. This in turn will help the reader to better see how both More and Danton are very different but also share some similarities.
Looking at the accomplishments of More, the reader can see some similarities to Danton. More’s primary ideologies were built upon in his book entitled Utopia. Furthermore, More refused to acknowledge King Henry VIII as the next to take the throne in Europe. He viewed the king as being unfit for the throne due to his insatiable need for power and his push away from Catholic ideals. There are some similarities that can be drawn to Georges Danton, in that Danton was viewed as being the main proprietor in overthrowing the French monarchy. Both men did not support their government's rulers and believed that the people who were in charge were not fit for rule.
Further examining Thomas More, an individual could say that he was a courageous, outspoken, and very intellectual man. More spoke out against his opposition towards King Henry VIII as ruler and held fast to his ties with the Catholic church. Looking at Georges Danton, an individual can say that his personality was similar to More’s. Danton was also a well-spoken man who was courageous and intellectual. Danton similarly spoke out against the monarchy as well as groups of people such as the Girondists. In that manner, both of the men are arguably similar in their personalities.
Lastly, looking at More's death the reader can see how it greatly impacted society and better helped to shape the community. There were two instances in which More has put on trial the first being when he was accused of taking bribes while he was Lord Chancellor. The charges eventually became dismissed but he was soon thereafter imprisoned and put on trial again. This time More was charged with treason and as a result faced the death penalty. He was later found guilty and was publicly executed and beheaded. His death can be viewed as a sign to the European people of King Henry VIII’s immense need for power, his inexplicable cruelty, and his unsuitable role as king of England.
In conclusion, the reader is able can easily see how both Thomas More and Georges Danton are not only different but also similar in some ways. Both men were not only prominent leaders during there time periods but they also greatly impacted their communities. Through both men’s achievements, ideals, status, and personal lives an individual is able to clearly see how both of them were very different yet similar at the same time.
- Wajda, Andrzej, director. Danton. Gaumont, 1983.
- Zinnemann, Fred, director. A Man For All Seasons. Columbia Pictures, 1966.
- “Sir Thomas More and the Heretics.” History Today, www.historytoday.com/archive/sir-thomas-more-and-heretics.