Bastille Day Quiz: Lincoln or Robespierre?

Jul 14, 2013 by

Maximilien de Robespierre6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794

Maximilien de Robespierre
6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794

Think you know who is who in history? Celebrate Bastille Day with this

short quiz.

The favors of history are often bestowed on those who prevailed. We may surmise that those who were unsuccessful in their cause are treated much differently than they would be had they succeeded. One leader takes extraordinary measures, fails and is vilified as a tyrant. Another may take extraordinary measures and be hailed as a hero or even savior. Terrible means can be justified in the name of success and it is mostly validated in the wash of time. Comparative history can be a useful tool to sift through our own contemporary attitudes and get at the real nature of events and political theory.

Abraham Lincoln 4 March 1861 – 15 April 1865

Abraham Lincoln
12 February 1809 – 15 April 1865

Robespierre and Lincoln occupy two different continents, two different historical moments, two different generations. But there is a great deal of biographical overlap. Both had a relatively obscure origin. Both were largely self made men. Both began their careers and established their reputations as small town lawyers. Both were for abolition of slavery and securing the rights of man. Both prosecuted civil war, promoted civic virtue, and justified terror in the name of their constitution and fulfilling their respective revolutions. Both were filled with the rhetoric of divine inspiration.

 

Quiz: Who’s line is it?

(No cheating!!! We are watching you.)

 

1. “Any law which violates the inalienable rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all.”

A. Lincoln

B. Robespierre

C. None of the above

 

2. “What is the end of our revolution? The tranquil enjoyment of liberty and equality; the reign of that eternal justice, the laws of which are graven, not on marble or stone, but in the hearts of men, even in the heart of the slave who has forgotten them, and in that of the tyrant who disowns them.”

A. Lincoln

B. Robespierre

C. None of the above
3. “Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right — a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.”

A. Lincoln

B. Robespierre

C. None of the above

 

4. “The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.”

A. Lincoln

B. Robespierre

C. None of the above

 

5. “This government cannot much longer play a game in which it stakes all, and its enemies stake nothing.”

A. Lincoln

B. Robespierre

C. None of the above

 

6. “Let…, every lover of liberty, every well-wisher to his posterity swear by the blood of the Revolution never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country, and never to tolerate their violation by others… let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his children’s liberty.”

A. Lincoln

B. Robespierre

C. None of the above

 

7. “To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is cruelty.”

A. Lincoln

B. Robespierre

C. None of the above

 

8. “Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much.”

A. Lincoln

B. Robespierre

C. None of the above

 

9. Any institution which does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil.

A. Lincoln

B. Robespierre

C. None of the above

 

10. “The man who stands by and says nothing, when the peril of his government is discussed, can not be misunderstood. If not hindered, he is sure to help the enemy.”

A. Lincoln

B. Robespierre

C. None of the above

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers:

1. B 2. B 3. A 4. B 5. A 6. A 7. B 8. A 9. B 10. A

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Charles

    Really shows how they both thought in absolutist terms: Your either for me or against me…Unless a lot more of these are “none of the above” that is haha

  2. David P.

    Kind of makes you wonder who would win in a head to head election

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