Joanne Murray L6H2  Miss Arnold  The French Revolution

To what extent could Louis XVI is blamed for the French revolution?

Louis XVI ( –21 January 1793) was King of  and  from 1774 until 1791, and then  from  to . Suspended and arrested during the Insurrection of the 10th of August 1792, he was tried by the , found guilty of treason, and executed on  . His execution signaled the end of the  monarchy in France and would eventually bring about the rise of .

There are conflicting views about his conviction. Not only is it believed that he was guilty and deserved to be  in front of a cheering crowd on  , but a divergent view is held, outlining how his intentions were good but the circumstances were. But to what extent was Louis XVI really to blame?

One of his disadvantages was his age when he became king as he ascended the throne at the age of twenty; he was of average intelligence, but was not overly concerned with the running of the country. He was known for his love of reading English, a language he taught himself to be able to keep informed on the history, culture and politics of England. Though his mother especially disliked his hobby, it was common for him to understand the current affairs of England more than his foreign minister and because of his love for oceanography; he was also well informed on naval affairs.

 Because of his age and the time he was thrown into power, it is believed he had a larger influence in terms of the French revolution. In the French imagination, he was seen as signifying everything that the Estates opposed: centralized government, prosperity, apathy.

Though it is certain that Louis XVI failed to maintain the centralization of power; people were under the false impression that he was a vain, obtuse, and inadequate monarch, so clueless that on the day the Bastille was seized by revolutionaries, he wrote in his diary, "Rien," "Nothing happened.”. This led to all the large forces in France conspiring to fragment power away from the monarchy. This meant that Louis could have been a scape goat and someone easy to blame for the revolution. He inherited the debt problem left by his grandfather, Louis XV, and contributed to the predicament himself through heavy spending during France’s involvement in the American Revolution (17751783).

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Because this massive debt overwhelmed all of his financial consultants, Louis XVI was forced to give in to the demands of the Parlement of Paris and convene the Estates, General. Also Marie Antoinette, who was brought up in indulgence as an Austrian princess, after their marriage became, in the French commoners’ eyes, the primary symbol of the French royalty’s extravagance and excess. She was hindering their payment of loans both Louis XVI and his predecessors had. Thought she didn’t have power of anything more than any other French queen until the reforms were rejected, she still had power over his ...

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