[Picture: Etching of the festival of the Supreme Being, 8 June 1794]
The Reign of Terror enabled the revolutionary government to avoid military defeat. The Jacobins expanded the size of the army, and Carnot replaced many aristocratic officers with younger soldiers who had demonstrated their ability and patriotism. The Republican army was able to throw back the Austrians, Prussians, British, and Spanish. At the end of 1793, the army began to prevail and revolts were defeated with ease. The Ventôse Decrees (February–March 1794) proposed the confiscation of the goods of exiles and opponents of the Revolution, and their redistribution to the needy.
Because dissent was now regarded as counterrevolutionary, extremist enragés such as Hébert and moderate Montagnard indulgents such as Danton were guillotined in the spring of 1794. On 7 June Robespierre, who had previously condemned the Cult of Reason, advocated a new state religion and recommended that the Convention acknowledge the existence of God. On the next day, the worship of the deistic Supreme Being was inaugurated as an official aspect of the Revolution. Compared with Hébert's popular festivals, this austere new religion of Virtue was received with signs of hostility by an amazed Parisian public.