Tools of Totalitarianism : state of exception, state of emergency

Tools of totalitarianism : state of exception, state of emergency

The origins of the state of exception or state of emergency can be traced back to the two American and French Revolutions. After the American Declaration of Independence, the Young American republic was to cope with Shays’s Rebellion of 1786 which was the trigger and the principal motive for elaborating of a constitution and provisions allowing the executive the instauration of the state of exception and the state of emergency. In France, a ” Revolutionary” Government had been set up by the Jacobin National Convention provided with exceptional measures of “public safety” to meet the needs of both war outside and chaotic situation inside especially  after the new situation provoked by General Dumouriez’s defection in March-April 1793 and by a next crisis of August-September giving way to serie of exceptional measures such as the decree of the levée en masse, the Law of Suspects, the control of food prices and the establishment of the armées révolutionnaires. such measures both extraordinary and exceptional were devised in order to deal with critical situations but their control contrary to the American constitution, remained strictly within the hands of the Assembly itself and did not, in themselves entail any strengthening of the executive at the expense of the legislature and these measures were perfectly compatible with the provision of the Constitution proclaimed by the new Jacobin majority in June 1793.