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This source is a private letter from the queen to her friend, what strengths and weaknesses does it have as a source for a study of Louis XVI and the French Revolution?

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Introduction

What kind of primary source is this, and what strengths and weaknesses does it have as a source for a study of 'Louis XVI and the French Revolution'? The only way we can have knowledge of the past is through the study of its relics and traces left by the past societies. These remnants left behind are what is known as primary sources. This source is a private letter from the queen to her friend. This is also a private source, as it was not meant to be seen by a large number of people but purely the private correspondence between two people. We know that this is a reliable source from the date that it was written. The king and queen attempted to flee in July 1791 and the letter was written in February 1791 explaining why they would be fleeing. ...read more.

Middle

In order to fully understand this source and its significance at the time, the first key area needing elucidation would be the manifesto mentioned in the first sentence, details on this would give us an overall understanding of what was being attempted by the monarchy. There are a number of points raised within the source that prelude to this manifesto. The queen mentions an M.de Maurepas and we would need to know who he is to understand why he is so hard to replace. Next to note are the parlements mentioned, there was one primarily in Paris and then 12 provincial parlements that along with Paris turned down the rescue package. "When we are free", they allude to being able to flee Paris, but it seems that they are held captive, we would need to ascertain their exact circumstances at the time of writing to put it in context. ...read more.

Conclusion

If we make the assumption that the king and queen would like to appoint a supportive Prime Minister, the queen, by stating that she is finds more disadvantages in men she would seek to appoint unwittingly reveals a lack of support for the monarchy and their plans. The language within the letter reveals an underlying air of derision and condescension. The queen portrays the people as being led astray and seems to volunteer tactics that would placate a child, "flatter it and then offer it an ultimatum as if they, the monarchy know best. This is reinforced by the comments about the parlements returning to "ordinary" law courts and being unable to "meddle" in administration or finance. This language, coupled with the confident statements about release and return to power, further highlight the na�ve assumptions and air of arrogance that the monarchy was known for. Joanna Murphy Y152858X TMA 04 ...read more.

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