Along with Robespierre, Danton was one of the main figures of the French Revolution. A warrior, his catchphrases are still repeated today: for example, “audacity, more audacity, always more audacity!” he cried in 1792 in order to mobilize the French in the war. “Let’s be terrible so the people don’t have to be,” he said again in 1793, giving the best definition of what the Terror was in part: an authoritarian policy framed by the law, in order to avoid civil war and make it possible for the new regime to survive.
Commissioned by the City of Paris for the Revolution’s centennial (1889) and inaugurated in 1891 on the site of Danton’s former home, the statue sculpted by Auguste Paris is not only a piece of art, but a commemorative site of the Revolution as well. Approximately twenty years after the siege of Paris by Prussia (1870) and after the insurrection of the Commune (1871), the message was very clear: to be a good republican like Danton a person needed to be ready to fight against foreign armies as well as defend the people without violence.