• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is it fair to blame Louis XVI for the government's failure to deal with the financial crisis of the 1770s and 1780's?

Free essay example:

Is it fair to blame Louis XVI for the government’s failure to deal with the financial crisis of the 1770s and 1780’s?

 As with any revolution they are never mono-causal, and cannot be blamed on one person or thing. There are always many reasons for the revolt, strikes and demonstrations throughout the whole country. The financial crisis tipped France into revolution. However the crisis cannot be fully blamed on Louis.

Some historians would believe that he was to blame. One reason is that his personality was not the perfect “king” material. This was because he was not the sharpest person around. He was very indecisive which is very bad for a leader. He did not make the correct changes to his way of leading to help the country through the crisis. He was a very weak man. He was easily bent; the other rival ministers took advantage of his weakness and forced Louis to dismiss Turgot.

        Another reason is that Louis would not call the Estates-General. He did not want to panic the whole nation by calling three hundred men of each estate to meet at Versailles. He instead called the ‘Assemble of Nobles’ which concluded that the only way to pass the new laws and taxes was through the Estates-General. It is thought by some that this unwillingness to call the estates general caused the revolution to happen. It was only called once Necker returned to be the Controller General. This delay caused ‘the Revolt of the Nobles’

        However other historians believe that the Eden treaty was partly to blame. This treaty inflicted great damage on the French industry. Because of the growing economic crisis in France there was no surplus food or products to be able to sell to the British, meanwhile good quality British products swamped the French market. This damage caused a huge strain on the economic structure of France.

        Another reason that it was not Louis fault is that he inherited many debts from wars before his time. The wars of the Spanish, Polish and Austrian caused a fairly large dept and the seven years war against the British proved both expensive and disastrous so their money was not spent fittingly. However Louis can be blamed for the entry to the War of American Independence which plunged the French economy into an acute drop.

        Another reason why Louis should not be blamed is that of the engrained nature of the Ancien Regime. This hierarchical system also had a part to play in the financial crisis of the French economy. Because of how the system worked the most important people to the financial stability of the French country were the third estate. These were the working class citizens who found it difficult to pay the taxes. Because of the many taxes some people were unable to pay all their taxes this means that the debts get worse. However when Turgot and many of the other Controller Generals tried to introduce a land tax to replace all the other taxes. However the way that the Ancien Regime worked the Nobility and the Clergy were affronted by the idea of them having to pay taxes. Also prosperous people in the third estate could buy their way into the second estate and then stop paying taxes. This meant that all those who were most likely to be able to help France out of the economic crisis were not helping towards the stability of the whole country.

        As you can see there are many reasons why Louis XVI should not be blamed for the ineptitude of the French government in a time of financial crisis. However he cannot be totally acquitted. He has a very major part to play in the financial crisis.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

(?)
Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Related GCSE History Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. With what success has the Britain government tried to deal with the Irish Troubles ...

    The power sharing agreement was very big progress for Northern Ireland as for so many years the Catholics and Protestants would not even be in the same room, let alone working together side by side. The power sharing executive took over on the 1st of January 1974 headed by the

  2. The Suez Crisis

    The Daily Mirror shows the opinions of the conservative supporters of Britain which is biased due to the fact that Eden has convinced them all that Nasser is a bad person and should not be trusted. Since the majority of the British population go with Eden's words, they believe him.

  1. Roosevelt's New Deal

    William Lichtenberg Roosevelt was one of America's most popular presidents, he was the first that reached out to them and through the radio talked to them directly. It can be clearly seen that Roosevelt was responsible for his election victory in 1932 and to a very small extent not responsible.

  2. Who was the real Custer, and to what extent was he to blame for ...

    What he could not have known is that they were determined to stand and fight. He could not have known the true number of warriors and could not have foreseen their fighting capability and especially their modern ammunition, which was supplied by traders.

  1. Constitutional Crisis

    The 1909 Budget therefore gave the Liberals the opportunity to redress all these problems and protect the system of free trade and instigate a more democratic fiscal system in the long-term, as well as paving the way for radical social reform.

  2. Ameican Youth Revolt

    Many of the flower children themselves grew tired of their riches-to-rags existence and returned to school to become lawyers, doctors, politicians, and accountants. The search on the part of alienated youth for a better society and a good life was strewn with both coming and tragic aspects, and it reflected

  1. Faith, Philosophy, and Government

    (Kimball, n.d.) This has proved to be true for all religions through out history, and today. We, as a group, believe that this will continue to be true in the future, as well. In the major religions; Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Confucianism we can see how "how religions address the same core issues in parallel and different ways".

  2. 1. Stourbridge Fair was the greatest of and most celebrated fairs of all England. ...

    This reference and the fact that Defoe wrote a whole chapter on the fair, is evidence and proof of the greatness and success of Stourbridge Fair. Midsummer Fair and Stourbridge Fair were both Charter Fairs, nevertheless, they did not both follow the same typical pattern.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work