———— Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were guillotined on January 21 and October 16, 1793. Five years later, Louis entered into an arranged marriage with Marie Antoinette, a 14-year-old Austrian princess. The king was no intellectual or visionary but nor was he reckless or stupid. Louis had studied English history and politics and was determined to learn from accounts of Charles I, the English king who was beheaded by his parliament. Louis XVI (born Louis-Auguste; August 23, 1754–January 21, 1793) was the French king whose reign collapsed because of the French Revolution. Most agree that both were factors: The time was ripe and Louis' faults certainly hastened the revolution. His failure to grasp the situation and to compromise, coupled with his requests for foreign intervention, were factors that led to his execution by guillotine and the creation of the new republic. He succeeded his grandfather, Louis XV, as King of France on May 10, 1774 at the age of 20. Flight to Vergennes and Collapse of the Monarchy, Biography of Marie Antoinette, Queen Executed in the French Revolution, The French Revolution, Its Outcome, and Legacy, The French Revolution: The 1780s Crisis and the Causes of Revolution, The Many Roles of Women in the French Revolution, A Beginner's Guide to the French Revolution, A Narrative History of the French Revolution - Contents, Biography of Marie-Antoinette, French Queen Consort, A History of the Palace of Versailles, Jewel of the Sun King, A History of the Women's March on Versailles, Biography of Louis XV, Beloved King of France, Biography of King Louis XIV, France’s Sun King, American Revolution: Commodore John Paul Jones, American Revolution: Marquis de Lafayette, Industry and Agriculture History in Europe, M.A., Medieval Studies, Sheffield University, B.A., Medieval Studies, Sheffield University. Louis initially called the Assembly “a phase.” Louis then misjudged and disappointed the radicalized Estates, proving inconsistent in his vision, and arguably too late with any response. Indeed, Louis had so closely supported Calonne that when the Notables, and seemingly France, rejected the reforms and forced him to dismiss his minister, Louis was damaged both politically and personally. An argument among historians persists as to what responsibility Louis holds for the events of the revolution, or whether he happened to preside over France at a moment when much greater forces conspired to provoke massive change. Louis underwent surgery to correct this problem but Antoinette did not conceive a child until eight years after their marriage. Contemporary reports suggest he went to his death bravely – but bravery, unlike good judgement, was never a quality that Louis lacked in life. In 1776, Louis XIV saw an opportunity to humiliate Britain and recover the lost French territories in the Seven Years’ War by supporting the United States in the American Revolutionary War. An avid hunter like his grandfather Louis XV, the prince also studied locksmithing as a useful hobby. He had no intention, at this moment or ever, of starting a civil war, nor of bringing back the Ancien Regime. Louis also used his veto—and in doing so walked into a trap set by deputies who wished to damage the king by making him veto. When Louis XV died in 1774, Louis succeeded him as Louis XVI, aged 19. The government passed to a National Convention, which abandoned the 1791 constitution, abolished the monarchy and initiated a French republic. At age 15 in 1770, he married 14-year-old Marie Antoinette, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor. Robert Wilde is a historian who writes about European history. The important figure in France is elaborated on Facts about Louis XVI. There is no proof Louis ever intended to overthrow the National Assembly by force of arms—because he was afraid of civil war. Instead, he was muddled, distant, uncompromising, and his habitual silence left his character and actions open to all interpretations. The papers were used by enemies to claim the former king had engaged in counter-revolutionary activity. $229.00. Abolished Torture For Confessions. A historian’s view: Here is his last will and testament, written a month previous on Christmas Day. Like many other monarchs on the eve of revolution, Louis and his wife Marie Antoinette have shouldered much of the blame for the suffering and unrest in their country. Because of this, the young prince was sidelined and not trained for royal duties. Louis turned to Charles de Calonne to help reform France's fiscal system and save France from bankruptcy. Historians postulate that Louis' initial coolness to Marie Antoinette was due to his fear that she might have too much influence over him—as her family actually desired. The future Louis XVI was born at Versailles in August 1754. 3. L ouis XVI, king of France, arrived in the wrong historical place at the wrong time and soon found himself overwhelmed by events beyond his control. In early 2000, scientists did DNA tests on the putative heart of the boy who died of tuberculosis in his prison, and who was presumed to be the prince. When fleeing, Louis left behind a declaration. The Bastille. After his mother died shortly after his father, Louis' tutors did a poor job of training him to be a m… His reputation was damaged. The execution was performed four days l… The French Revolution unfolded under his rule and eventually toppled him from power. Known as Louis Auguste early in life, the future king was never expected to be heir to the throne at all. His reign from the age of 4 in 1643 up until his death at the age of 76 in 1715 makes him the longest-serving monarch not only in the history of France but in all Europe. Louis XVI, 1781 © Louis was king of France when the monarchy was overthrown during the French Revolution. The Countess of Charny or, The Execution of King Louis XVI by Alexandre Dumas (pere) by Alexandre Dumas and HENRY LLEWELLYN WILLIAMS. This declaration is often understood as damaging him; in fact, it gave constructive criticism on aspects of the revolutionary government that deputies tried to work into the new constitution before being blocked. He was the second son of Louis, Dauphin of France, and his German-born wife Maria Josepha. After donning the crown, things only got worse. Louis was unable to unite his court. Louis’ life changed in the 1760s, when tuberculosis claimed his older brother (1761) and his father (1765), leaving the 10-year-old prince as heir to the Bourbon throne. Free shipping. Louis approved support of the American revolutionaries against Britain in the American Revolutionary War. He allowed the attempted reforms of Turgot at the start and promoted the outsider Jacques Necker to be finance minister, but he consistently failed to either take a strong role in government or to appoint someone like a prime minister to take one. January 21 marked the anniversary of the regicide of Louis XVI, King of France, by the revolutionary authorities. Louis was now seen increasingly by his own public as an enemy. Title: “Louis XVI” Louis and his family were arrested and imprisoned. The reality of his reign is generally lost to public memory, including the fact that he tried to reform France to a degree few would ever have imagined before the Estates-General was called. In October 1789, a violent mob assailed the royal family at Versailles and forced the king to relocate to Paris. Ask this question of someone with a rudimentary understanding of history and chances are they would name King Louis XVI (1754-1793). But when that sibling at the age of 9 and Louis' father died a few years later, it was clear that the unprepared and unlikely Louis Auguste would be the next king. The king might have retained both his throne and his life had he understood the revolution, accepted its inevitability and showed appropriate judgement. This confrontation would be repeated during his grandson’s reign. Marie Antoinette received much of the public's blame for the lack of children in the early years of their marriage. Louis’ safety came further under threat when secret papers were discovered hidden in the Tuileries palace where Louis had been staying. However, by refraining this way, France accrued ever greater debts, which dangerously destabilized the country. Available instantly. He was also a strongly religious man who worshipped daily and sought the counsel of higher clergy, both on personal affairs and matters of government. 4. Louis saw himself as a reforming monarch but took little lead. Though intelligent and prepared to accept advice, he proved a rather mediocre king, showing little interest in policy, detail or statesmanship. As the revolution progressed, Louis slipped from political leader to political prisoner. Louis was prepared to turn France into a constitutional monarchy, and in order to do so, because the Assembly of Notables proved to be unwilling, Louis called an Estates-General. He was found guilty—the only, inevitable result—and narrowly condemned to death. Louis was torn this way and that by court factions. In 1770 he married the Austrian princess Marie Antoinette, an arranged marriage for political purposes. Louis then made what would prove to be a major mistake: He attempted to flee to safety and gather forces to protect his family. He wanted a constitutional monarchy. But he was not a king with clear, decisive vision. His father, Louis, Dauphin of France, was the heir to the French throne. Louis XVI: Childhood. French Revolution memory quiz – events 1789-91, French Revolution memory quiz – events 1792-95, French Revolution memory quiz – events to 1788, French Revolution memory quiz – terms (I), French Revolution memory quiz – terms (II), French Revolution memory quiz – terms (III). Louis XVI did so because he believed it was what the people wanted, and partly because the pro-parlementary faction in his government worked hard to convince him it was his idea. At first, there was little desire to abolish the monarchy. This earned him public popularity but obstructed royal power. A Matter of Bed and State. Neither Louis or his ministers foresaw the political challenges that lay ahead. Publisher: Alpha History 99 $4.99 $4.99. It contains 231,429 words in 354 pages and was updated on December 2nd 2020. Hardman argues that the crisis changed the king’s personality, leaving him sentimental, weepy, distant, and depressed. Louis XVI is generally portrayed as the fat, slow, silent monarch who oversaw the collapse of absolute monarchy. King Louis XVI didn’t exactly rise to power in a perfect throne. The Dauphin became King Louis XVI in 1774, aged 19. When drought and poor grain harvests led to rising bread prices, the people began to revolt against their king. Louis was a shy, dull man whose character was not suited to … Louis might have remained in charge of a newly created constitutional monarchy if he had been able to chart a clear path through the momentous events. With better judgement, he might have overseen France’s transition to a constitutional monarchy. Hardcover $5.59 $ 5. King Louis XIV was the Sun King as he preferred to be referred to, as he believed he was sent by God personally to rule France. or Best Offer. He was obsessed with lists and figures, comfortable when hunting, but timid and awkward everywhere else (he watched people coming and going from Versailles through a telescope). This French Revolution site contains articles, sources and perspectives on events in France between 1781 and 1795. He was the second son of Louis, Dauphin of France, and his German-born wife Maria Josepha. He ended up a virtual prisoner in Paris, and his June 1791 attempt to escape the city spelt the end of the constitutional monarchy. URL: https://alphahistory.com/frenchrevolution/louis-xvi/ Louis XVI was the last king of France before the French Revolution . He was recognized as the last king … A month into the Estates-General, the king lost his eldest son to tuberculosis. Louis XVI, also called (until 1774) Louis-Auguste, duc de Berry, (born August 23, 1754, Versailles, France—died January 21, 1793, Paris), the last king of France (1774–92) in the line of Bourbon monarchs preceding the French Revolution of 1789. He had hoped to avoid one, fearing that it would prevent the return of a French monarchy for a long time. Shortly after taking the throne, Louis followed ministerial and aristocratic advice and restored the power of the parlements, the high courts whose power was abolished by Louis XV after their blocked his legislative reforms. Louis XVI (1754 – 1793), born Louis-Auguste, was King of France from 1774 until his deposition in 1792, although his formal title after 1791 was King of the French. He succeeded his father on May 14, 1643. Louis XVI(23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793) was the King of Francefrom 1774 until 1792,[a]when the monarchy was abolished during the French Revolution. Free shipping. He wisely accepted much of this advice, however, attempts at reform were blocked by obstinate nobles in the parlements and the Assembly of Notables. 12 watching. Louis’ trial began in December and lasted five weeks. The young Louis XVI was moderately intelligent, aware of his royal responsibilities and alert to the need for strong leadership – but he proved a mediocre king, relying excessively on his advisors and showing insufficient interest in the business of state. The position of the monarchy was further eroded and Louis began to hope for a settlement that would mimic the English system. He initially refused to flee and gather forces. To-day, the 25th day of December, 17 Within another month, he had surrendered his absolutism to the newly-formed National Assembly. He was an expert on the French Navy and a devotee of mechanics and engineering, although this may be overemphasized by historians. In 1788, the financial crisis became a political crisis when the king was wrestled into summoning an Estates-General, France’s closest equivalent to a national parliament. Historian Hilaire Belloc on Louis XVI’s character and personality (1911). In April 1792, the French newly elected Legislative Assembly declared a pre-emptive war against Austria (which was suspected of forming anti-revolutionary alliances with French expatriates). During the rule of Louis XV a general malaise had set in and although Louis XVI was very familiar with his country's history, his role model as king was his grandfather who did not set an exemplary example of how a successful monarch should rule. The Achille-Joseph Valois sculpture of France’s King Louis XVI pictured in 2003. François Furet. It was an extraordinary move of questionable legality – but there was no avenue to review or challenge it. Louis was the son of Louis XIII and his Spanish queen, Anne of Austria. Louis preferred his regular leisure pursuits to reading dispatches, consulting ministers or considering policy. In another display of tolerance, Louis XVI abolished the use of … The flight itself did not destroy the monarchy: Sections of the government tried to portray Louis as the victim of kidnapping to protect the future settlement. In 1774, poor Louis took over the French throne from his grandfather, King Louis XV, who left him to clean up a tremendous economic crisis. Out of seven children, he was the second son of Louis, the Dauphin of France, and thus the grandson of Louis … Under siege from the people, the Assembly had no alternative but to suspend the king and dissolve itself. Louis was put on trial. The defeat of France in the Seven Years’ War against Great Britain had caused a financial crisis and left Louis XVI with a terrible inheritance. Instead, he clung to a misguided hope that the changes wrought by the revolution could be minimised or even reversed. At the time of his birth, Louis was third in line to the throne, behind his father and older brother. He excelled at technical subjects and was deeply interested in geography, but historians are unsure about his level of intelligence. Louis resolved to execute the constitution literally, in order to make other people aware of its need for reform. Louis was a strong student nevertheless, excelling in history and languages. In 1815, the remains of King Louise XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were removed and re-interred in the Basilica of Saint-Denis in what is now northern Paris. Louis ascended to the French throne in 1774 and from the start was unsuited to deal with the severe financial problems that he had inherited from his grandfather, King Louis XV. or Best Offer. Ascending the throne in 1774, Louis inherited a realm driven nearly bankrupt through the opulence of his predecessors Louis XIV and XV. Louis XVI (23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793) was the King of France from 1774 until 1792, when the monarchy was abolished during the French Revolution. At a trial on 17 January 1793, the National Convention had convicted the king of high treason in a near-unanimous vote; while no one voted "not guilty", several deputies abstained. A new American book by journalist Deborah Cadbury also tells the story (the Lost King of France: How DNA Solved the Mystery of the Murder of the Son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette). Leaving in disguise on June 21, 1791, he was caught at Varennes and brought back to Paris. The gathering of the Estates-General soon turned revolutionary. Louis XVI synonyms, Louis XVI pronunciation, Louis XVI translation, English dictionary definition of Louis XVI. For more information on usage, please refer to our Terms of Use. By late 1792 they had resolved to put the king on trial, not before an independent court but before the Convention itself. Some historians deem this restoration as one factor that helped lead to the French Revolution. The fortune he spent in support of the American War of […] Professor Osman assesses Louis XVI’s conduct during the American and French Revolutions and how he met his downfall. The former king and his lawyers mounted a staunch defence to the charges levied by the Convention – but the guilty verdict was probably a foregone conclusion. The last act of Louis’ reign began in August 1792, when a Paris mob swarmed into his palace at the Tuileries, slaughtering soldiers and forcing the king to take refuge in the Legislative Assembly. | May 21, 2013. $199.99. Instead, Louis found himself in a situation beyond his control and perhaps beyond his understanding. $3.20 shipping. 1754-1793. Citation information He was eager to weaken Britain, France's longtime enemy, and to restore French confidence in their military. The French king has been variously portrayed as weak and vacillating, dishonest and careless, politically apathetic, indifferent to the needs of the French people, under the spell of corrupt ministers and under the thumb of his domineering wife. The ideology of absolute rule was collapsing in France, but at the same time it was Louis who consciously entered into the American Revolutionary War, incurring debt, and it was Louis whose indecision and mangled attempts at governing alienated the Third Estate deputies and provoked the first creation of the National Assembly. The king initiated the Estates-General in May 1789, hoping to push through some fiscal reforms – but the delegates representing the Third Estate had other plans, invoking a confrontation over voting rights, representation and national power. He promised loyalty to the new state and its constitution, however, the revolutionary government’s attacks on the church and émigré nobles alienated the king, who believed that things had gone too far. Authors: John Rae, Steve Thompson The king grew even more silent and depressed, being forced into more vetoes before the Paris crowd were pushed into triggering the declaration of a French Republic. Copyright: The content on this page may not be republished without our express permission. Despite this, Louis was able to publicly accept developments like the "Declaration of the Rights of Man" and his public support increased when it appeared he would allow himself to be recast in a new role. The infertility (for whatever reason) of Louis and his wife was a target of … His flight did, however, polarize people’s views. He turned his natural reserve and tendency to be silent into an act of state, simply refusing to reply to people with whom he disagreed. In a more settled age, he might have made a capable old regime ruler. For uncertain reasons (possibly related to Louis’ psychology and ignorance, rather than a physical ailment), the couple did not consummate the marriage for many years. While there is no doubt that Louis’ leadership and political judgement were lacking, it is simplistic and unfair to attribute the revolution to his errors alone. Louis-Auguste, the future Louis XVI, was born on August 23, 1754. 59 $37.99 $37.99. Louis was a strong student nevertheless, excelling in history and languages. He is the author of the History in an Afternoon textbook series. The statue is 12 feet tall and weighs 9 tons. Moderate politicians tried to recover the king’s position but his treachery had driven the ordinary people of Paris into a Republican frenzy. The historian John Hardman has argued that the rejection of Calonne’s reforms, which Louis had given personal backing, led to the king's nervous breakdown, from which he never had time to recover. Louis XVI’s mother in law helped the royal couple in their sex life. The king was removed from power in August 1792, sent for trial in December and executed in January 1793. At the age of four years and eight months, he was, according to the laws of the kingdom, not only the master but the owner of the bodies and property of 19 million subjects. His parents expected his older brother, Louis duc de Bourgogne, to inherit the throne. France had not had a strong king since Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King. As general frustration with Louis grew, he was forced to move to Paris, where he was effectively imprisoned. In the name of the Very holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. In June 1791, Louis and his family all but abandoned the new regime by attempting to flee Paris. Louis XVI was the last Bourbon king of France who was executed in 1793 for treason. From 1789 the king’s fate was determined by the events of the revolution. During the revolution he lost his kingdom and then his life. Indeed, Louis’ aversion to ceremony and to maintaining a dialogue with nobles he disliked meant that court took on a lesser role and many nobles ceased to attend. But he was horrified by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which offended his religious beliefs. Guillotine: King Louis XVI of France Copper 2 Soles Coin,Boxed With Story . The French economy struggled under Louis XVI due to large debt and massive expenses. Louis XVI ruled one of the world’s most powerful empires – but he also governed a nation choked by debt, fiscal mismanagement and a corrupt and inequitable system of taxation. 1. Louis was born at Versailles on 23 August 1754. Ultimately, they condemned him to death by a simple majority. He was born on August 23rd, 1754 and died on January 21st, 1793. Who was responsible for the French Revolution? His failure to grasp the situation and to compromise, coupled with his requests for foreign intervention, were factors that led to his execution by guillotine and the creation of the new republic. There were more escape plans, but Louis feared being usurped, either by his brother or a general and refused to take part. The financial state of France was in the toilet, and Louis XVI, without any previous political experience, was responsible for fixing it. Of course, it was in the Reign of King Louis XVI that the French Revolution began in 1789 and started a startling course of events that would ultimately reshape France and much of Europe.Author John Hardman traces Louis's extraordinary life from his birth through to … The future Louis XVI was born at Versailles in August 1754. The French Revolution was precipitated by a financial crisis. As for the former king, he spent his last weeks in the Temple, a fortress in the northern suburbs of Paris, while deputies in the Convention debated his fate. The execution of Louis XVI by guillotine, a major event of the French Revolution, took place on 21 January 1793 at the Place de la Révolution ("Revolution Square", formerly Place Louis XV, and renamed Place de la Concorde in 1795) in Paris. For more info, visit our FAQ page or Terms of Use. But others simply saw the need for a republic and the deputies who supported a constitutional monarchy suffered. He became heir after the deaths of his father and older brother. At the time of his birth, Louis was third in line to the throne, behind his father and older brother. 5. At birth, Louis was third in line to the French throne. In May 1774, Louis XV died and his grandson ascended to the throne, aged 19. After his grandfather’s death on 10th May 1774, Louis XVI ascended the throne of France. In this way, Louis undermined his own position among the aristocracy. His overthrow and executionended a monarchy that was over 1,000 years old, although he was not the last … Louis-Auguste was the oldest son born to his father to survive childhood; when his father died in 1765, he became the new heir to the throne. Because of this, the young prince was sidelined and not trained for royal duties. The inability of Louis and his ministers to push through fiscal reforms in 1788 led to the king agreeing to convoke the Estates-General, which in turn precipitated a challenge to his absolute political power. Date published: May 5, 2017 The statue of King Louis (“Loo-ee”) the 16th of France that stands outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in downtown Louisville turned 190 years old in 2019 and marked its 50th year in Louisville in 2017. As the revolution progressed, Louis remained opposed to many of the changes desired by the deputies, privately believing that the revolution would run its course and the status quo would return. In 1770 he married Austrian archduchess Marie Antoinette, the daughter of … Louis was now forced to accept a constitution neither he, nor few other people, really believed in. Date accessed: January 14, 2021 He was guillotined in 1793. The result was a regime riven by factions and lacking a clear direction. The States-General had not been assembled since 1614, and the third estatethe commonsused the opportu… King of France . When proposals were finally put forward to the Estates, it had already formed into a National Assembly. French Monarch. Louis Capet, as he was known by then, was found guilty on January 17th 1793 and executed four days later. 2. Louis believed France needed a constitutional monarchy in which he had an equal say in government. 1784 FRANCE SILVER ECU LOUIS XVI HUGE CROWN COIN. His overthrow and execution ended a monarchy that was over 1,000 years old, although he was not the last … Louis was determined not to use the war as a way of grabbing new territory for France. “It is easy to see how historians have been able to turn this really very average man into a hero, an incompetent, a martyr or a culprit: this honourable king, with his simple nature, ill adapted for the role he had to assume and the history which awaited him… Where personal qualities were concerned, Louis XVI was not the ideal monarch to personify the twilight of royalty in the history of France: he was too serious, too faithful to his duties, too thrifty, too chaste and, in his final hour, too courageous.” He was executed by guillotine on January 21, 1793, but not before ordering his son to pardon those responsible if he had the chance. Like all kings, Louis XVI had a duty … Louis-Auguste was a keen student of language and history. * Marie-Antoinette was Louis XVI’s spouse, and their child was Louis XVII. Competent ministers gave the king sound advice on how to correct France’s financial woes. Louis XVI - Louis XVI was king of France when the French Revolution began. Reminder: * Louis XVI, Louis XVIII and Madame Elisabeth were siblings. Louis and Antoinette’s first fumbling attempts at love-making were disastrous, due to the young prince suffering an extended foreskin that made erections painful and sexual intercourse almost impossible. Xiv and XV bread prices, the future Louis XVI is generally portrayed as the fat, slow silent... The last Bourbon king of France, and his life had he understood the.... Found guilty on January 21st, 1793 driven the ordinary people of Paris a... Relocate to Paris, where they were arrested and turned back to Paris need for republic. Would name king Louis XVI, aged 19 to our Terms of.. 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