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Why did the attempts to create a limited monarchy in France fail between 1789 and 1792

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Introduction

Why did the attempts to create a limited monarchy in France fail between 1789 and 1792? Over the three years where the monarchy was the prevailing power to its eventual overthrow, there are a number of factors, which are significant in the failed attempts to preserve the monarchy. Much of the reason for the failing of a limited monarchy was that of the king's actions. The king, whether intentionally or not, seemed to frequently act contrary to the general wishes of the people and tended also to arouse suspicion and create tension between the populace and the monarchy. It was not merely Louis's own actions, but also that of those associated with him and the monarchy, which helped to cement the failing of the monarchy. It was the initial actions such as the sacking of the King's minister Necked, a figure viewed as the people's representative, which lead to a tension and negative feelings amongst the people towards the king. In some respects it was this action, which lead to the storming of the Bastille, and thus in many historians opinions the essential beginning of the French revolution. It was the civil unrest, which caused the meeting of the three estates, and the king's unadvisable locking of the room, which lead to the tennis court oath and thus the forming of a national assembly. ...read more.

Middle

This added to the public dissatisfaction, and thus helped create the environment and circumstances of the failure of the monarchy. After 1791, tensions increased due to the public dissatisfaction over the peasantry, inflation and the issue of active and passive citizenship, where a large majority were still unable to vote in the 'democracy'. The sans-culottes, who felt they had played a great part in the revolution specifically after the October days and the Bastille, were angered and thus the debate over passive rights raged in the political clubs, which had become forums for people to express their opinions. While the Jacobins tended to be more conservative and initially supported the limited monarchy, the Cordelier club, which had unrestricted access was more radical and as support for it increased, thus did the anti-monarchy sentiment. The peasants in particular were disgruntled over the buying back of feudal rights (implemented in the August Decrees) and wanted them banned. In addition to this bread prices had become very high and the dissatisfaction led to rural revolution in Brittany and the rising prices and low wages due to high inflation led to protests in Paris. In reaction the Assembly outlawed Trade Unions and the right to strike, under Le Chapelier Law, and closed down charity organisations worried that too many people convening to volunteer in one place could cause trouble. ...read more.

Conclusion

Suspicion, much justified, of Marie Antoinette as a spy accused of conspiring with the Austrians to overthrow the revolution, was much emphasised and thus Louis' reputation was further knocked. The war effort required a call to arms to all Frenchmen to combat the shortage of soldiers immediately facing the Assembly. A fundamental problem here was that the men felt that if they were asked to fight, they should all receive the right to vote. Thus the sans-culottes and particularly the Federes - provincial revolutionaries who became the main body of the National Guard and were strictly anti-monarchy - pored into Paris and demanded that a republic be set up alongside a direct democracy. The National Assembly was by now very desperate and could do little but agree, thus the monarchy was abolished. It seems that while the war was the event upon which the monarchy was abolished, and thus is a major factor, it seems that the build up of anti-monarchy sentiment between 1789 and 1792 was fundamental. The combination of an unwise and unusually old-fashioned king with a dissatisfied public feeling the need for a change, all to a background of difficult economic and social situation helped create the setting. The great suspicion of the monarchy and particularly the Queen, and the paranoia associated with anyone deemed counter-revolutionary (the refractory priests and �migr�s) all led to the failure of a limited monarchy. ...read more.

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