The outbreak of the French Revolution stirred debate all over Europe and the United States. Supporters of the Enlightenment, such as Thomas Jefferson, saw the French experiment as the dawn of a new age for justice and equality. European rulers and nobles, however, denounced the French Revolution.
The September massacres lasted six days and resulted in more than 1,368 deaths.
European rulers were horrified by the French Revolution, which threatened absolute monarchy. They increased border patrol to stop the spread of the “French plague.” Fueling those fears were the horror stories that were told by émigrés (EM ih grayz)—nobles, clergy, and others who had fled France. Émigrés reported attacks on their privileges, their property, their religion, and even their lives. Even “enlightened” rulers turned against France. Catherine the Great of Russia burned Voltaire's letters and locked up critics.
Edmund Burke, a British statesman who earlier had defended the American Revolution, bitterly condemned revolutionaries in Paris. He predicted all too accurately that the revolution would become more violent. “When ancient opinions and rules of life are taken away,” he warned, “we have no compass to govern us.”
The failed escape of Louis XVI brought further hostile rumblings from abroad. In August 1791, the king of Prussia and the emperor of Austria—who was Marie Antoinette's brother—issued the Declaration of Pilnitz. In this document, the two monarchs threatened to protect the French monarchy.