Louis Antoine Léon de Saint-Just, commonly known as the Angel of Death, was a Jacobin leader during the French Revolution. He was a close friend of Maximilien Robespierre and served as his most trusted ally during the period of Jacobin rule in the French First Republic. Saint-Just worked as a legislator and a military commissar, but he achieved a lasting reputation as the face of the Reign of Terror. He publicly delivered the condemnatory reports that emanated from Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety and defended the use of violence against opponents of the government. He supervised the arrests of some of the most famous figures of the Revolution and saw many of them off to the guillotine.
From its beginning in 1789, the Revolution enthralled the young Saint-Just, who strove to take a leading role. Early on, he became a commander in his local National Guard unit. Shortly after reaching the minimum legal age of 25 in August 1792, he won election as a deputy to the National Convention in Paris. Despite his lack of record or influence, Saint-Just boldly denounced King Louis XVI from the speaker's rostrum and spearheaded a successful movement to have him executed.