The Guillotine Essays

Submitted By juli13ette
Words: 360
Pages: 2

The Guillotine
By: Juliette Pfeiffer

The guillotine was originally developed in the late 1780’s by Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotine, who suggested that the French government develop a more humane form of execution. The original forms of capital punishment were axe and sword beheadings. Dr. Guillotine found these methods horridly inhumane, so he helped oversee the invention of a fast acting machine that gave a quick death. When the machine was named after him, he and his family were horrified, but unfortunately the name was not changed. Executions by the guillotine were huge events in the mid-1790s. Many enemies of the French revolution met were executed by guillotine. Supporters of the French Revolution loved to be spectators in the events, in fact it soon became extreme entertainment. Programs with the names of those to be executed were given out. The operators of the guillotine were huge celebrities and had songs and poems written about them. They even set fashion trends. The operating of the guillotine was a family business and people would often chant the family name during the beheading. Restaurants were set up around so spectators could eat while watching the execution. Souvenirs and mini guillotines were made for people. The mini guillotines became a very popular children’s toy. The French had a fascination with public beheadings and public executions continued until 1939. Experiments were often conducted throughout the late eighteenth and nineteenth century…