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A report on france during the reign of king louis xvi

See Article History Alternative Titles: The monarchy was abolished on Sept.

Early life and accession Louis was the third son of the dauphin Louis and his consort Maria Josepha of Saxony. He was taught to avoid letting others know his thoughts, which has led to sharp disagreement about his intelligence.

  1. A diplomatic necessity more than anything else, the union produced six children, of whom only one, Louis 1661-1711 , survived to adulthood.
  2. He was forced to accept a new constitution, thereby establishing a constitutional monarchy.
  3. This was the first time the body had met since 1614.

Louis nevertheless possessed an excellent memory, acquired a sound knowledge of Latin and English, and took an interest in history and geography. At that time he was still immature, lacking in self-confidence, austere in manner, and, because of a physical defect later remedied by an operationunable to consummate his marriage.

His approval of French military and financial support for the American colonists led to a foreign policy success, but the borrowing required to pay for the war drove the government to the brink of bankruptcy and led the king to support the radical fiscal, economic, and administrative reforms proposed by Charles-Alexandre de Calonnethe controller-general of finance, in 1787. The refusal of a specially summoned Assembly of Notables to approve these measures, and the opposition of the parlements, forced the king in July 1788 to summon the Estates-General —the representatives of the clergy, nobility, and commoners—for the following year and thus set in motion the Revolution.

Louis XVI (1754-1793)

Library of Congress, Washington, D. He allowed himself to be persuaded that royal dignity required him to avoid communication with the deputies assembled at Versaillesand he made no attempt to lay out a program that might have attracted their support.

At critical moments, he was distracted by the illness and death of his eldest son, the dauphin June 4, 1789. Lethargic in temperament, lacking political insight, and therefore incapable of appreciating the need to compromise, Louis continued to divert himself by hunting and with his personal hobbies of making locks and doing masonry.

His dismissal of Necker in early July 1789 set off popular demonstrations culminating in the storming of the Bastillewhich forced the king to accept the authority of the newly proclaimed National Assembly.

  1. Caught at Varennes and brought back to Paris, he lost credibility as a constitutional monarch. The long conflict plunged a famine-ridden France into massive debt, turning public opinion against the crown.
  2. Louis was born at Versailles on 23 August 1754. The long conflict plunged a famine-ridden France into massive debt, turning public opinion against the crown.
  3. He was forced to accept a new constitution, thereby establishing a constitutional monarchy.
  4. In October 1789, a mob marched on Versailles and forced the royal couple to move to Tuileries; in June 1791, opposition to the royal pair had become so fierce that the two were forced to flee to Austria. French support for the colonists in the American War of Independence had brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy.
  5. In 1770, he married Marie Antoinette, daughter of the emperor and empress of Austria, a match intended to consolidate an alliance between France and Austria.

Despite his reluctance, he had to endorse its "destruction" of the feudal regime and its Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in August. The king privately continued to believe that the Revolution would burn itself out.

King Louis XVI executed

Yet he made still more mistakes, refusing to follow the secret advice tendered to him after May 1790 by the comte de Mirabeauabdicating his responsibilities, and acquiescing in a disastrous attempt to escape from the capital to the eastern frontier on June 21, 1791. Caught at Varennes and brought back to Paris, he lost credibility as a constitutional monarch.

From the autumn of 1791 the king tied his hopes of political salvation to the dubious prospects of foreign intervention. At the same time, he encouraged the Girondin faction in the Legislative Assembly which had succeeded the National Assembly in September 1791 in their policy of war with Austria, in the expectation that French military disaster would pave the way for the restoration of his authority.

Early life and accession

Prompted by Marie-Antoinette, Louis rejected the advice of the moderate constitutionalists, led by Antoine Barnaveto faithfully implement the constitution of 1791, which he had sworn to maintain, and committed himself to a policy of subterfuge and deception. On December 3 it was decided that Louis, who together with his family had been imprisoned since August, should be brought to trial for treason.

He himself appeared twice before the Convention December 11 and 23.

Condemnation to death Despite the last-minute efforts of the Girondins to save him, Citizen Capet, as he was then called, was found guilty by the National Convention and condemned to death on Jan. When a final decision on the question of a respite was taken on January 19, Louis was condemned to death by 380 votes to 310. Nine months later his wife met the same fate.