To what extent was the failure of the constitutional monarchy caused by the French declaration of war in 1792?

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To what extent was the failure of the constitutional monarchy caused by the French declaration of war?

The constitutional monarchy which came into being in September 1791 was short lived. Although in 1789 there had been a majority in support of a constitutional monarchy, and a near non-existent support for a republic, these were tumultuous times and the people were ideologically fickle enough to be swayed by several key events/factors.

On October 1st, there was held the first meeting of the Legislative assembly, due to self-denying ordinance there was a total replacement of the national assembly’s personnel. In general these new ministers were more radical, and monarchien’s in particular came out badly from the election.  This led to a much more hostile body than the National Assembly, and Louis would have a much tenser relationship with this new governing body.

Louis had been effectively forced to sign the Constitution and was prisoner in his own capital. However he still held a power, greatest in the form of his suspensive veto, and his ability to appoint ministers. In March of 1792 Louis appoints a ministry led by Jacques Brissot, a radical who was a leading member of the Girondist movement. Louis was aware that Brissot was actively in favour of war, which begs the question as to why he was chosen for such an influential role in the new government. It is generally accepted that Louis wanted war. He saw it as a win-win situation. If France came out victorious then he remained a constitutional monarch over a more powerful state, if France lost then, he believed, that fellow nobles (and relatives) would reinstate him to his previous position of power.  France declared war on April 20th 1792. I would not agree that failure was inevitable from the French declaration of war. However without the war being underway Louis would not have put himself in such a compromising position, with regard to his contact and support for Austria.

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The Brunswick manifesto sparked a violent response; it caused civil unrest in Paris which culminated in the storming of the Tuileries on 10th August. There is widespread belief that Louis was giving information to the Austrian’s and this is confirmed when they find documents/correspondence in possession of the royals. This was a total betrayal of the revolution and was just the excuse the republicans needed to remove the royals. Vergniaud said to the National Assembly ‘It is in the name of the king that liberty is attacked… at what point we can believe that that they will exhaust their treasure sustain ...

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