This Maximilien Robespierre fellow is quite interesting. He starts out backing the ideals of the Enlightenment but goes on to promote the Great Terror, which seems to have come with a program quite similar to DHS's "If you hear something, say something" campaign. In the end he supported the executions of those only suspected of counter-revolutionary activities. Perhaps an example of the lunacy of the concept of the benevolent dictator, or the axiom that "absolute power corrupts, absolutely"?
Closed-captioned dramatization of his final speech -- after which he was beheaded by the National Razor.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGvbEOSFle0
Also, just poking around for more understanding, I found this interesting.The American Enlightenment
The American Enlightenment is the intellectual thriving period in America in the mid-to-late 18th century, especially as it relates to American Revolution on the one hand and the European Enlightenment on the other. Influenced by the scientific revolution of the 17th century and the humanist period during the Renaissance, the Enlightenment took scientific reasoning and applied it to human nature, society and religion. Politically the age is distinguished by an emphasis upon liberty, democracy, republicanism and religious tolerance – culminating in the drafting of the United States Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Attempts to reconcile science and religion resulted in a rejection of prophecy, miracle and revealed religion, often in preference for Deism. Historians have considered how the ideas of John Locke and Republicanism merged together to form Republicanism in the United States. The most important leaders of the American Enlightenment include Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Enlightenment
PS - Talk about fate that such a cock-up in the French prison spared Thomas Paine the guillotine and allowed him to continue his thing!