Because of this, the young prince was sidelined and not trained for royal duties. 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’ trial began in December and lasted five weeks. He was an expert on the French Navy and a devotee of mechanics and engineering, although this may be overemphasized by historians. It was an extraordinary move of questionable legality – but there was no avenue to review or challenge it. The French Revolution was precipitated by a financial crisis. $199.99. 59 $37.99 $37.99. A month into the Estates-General, the king lost his eldest son to tuberculosis. Louis Capet, as he was known by then, was found guilty on January 17th 1793 and executed four days later. France, Louis XVI 1784 Silver Coin Dish. His flight did, however, polarize people’s views. 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. When fleeing, Louis left behind a declaration. At age 15 in 1770, he married 14-year-old Marie Antoinette, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor. Louis was a strong student nevertheless, excelling in history and languages. 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. or Best Offer. 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. 3. He tended to think long about issues. 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. Built in the 1300s during the Hundred Years’ War against the English, the Bastille was … 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. However, by refraining this way, France accrued ever greater debts, which dangerously destabilized the country. 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. From this point, the fate of Louis XVI was tied to the events of the revolution. The fortune he spent in support of the American War of […] Hardman argues that the crisis changed the king’s personality, leaving him sentimental, weepy, distant, and depressed. The position of the monarchy was further eroded and Louis began to hope for a settlement that would mimic the English system. 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). $3.20 shipping. Louis XVI was the last Bourbon king of France who was executed in 1793 for treason. 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. 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. 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. He had hoped to avoid one, fearing that it would prevent the return of a French monarchy for a long time. He was the second son of Louis, Dauphin of France, and his German-born wife Maria Josepha. Contemporary reports suggest he went to his death bravely – but bravery, unlike good judgement, was never a quality that Louis lacked in life. Louis preferred his regular leisure pursuits to reading dispatches, consulting ministers or considering policy. 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. $114.60. Louis XVI synonyms, Louis XVI pronunciation, Louis XVI translation, English dictionary definition of Louis XVI. In this way, Louis undermined his own position among the aristocracy. 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. He was found guilty—the only, inevitable result—and narrowly condemned to death. This site is created and maintained by Alpha History. 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. 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 June 1791, Louis and his family all but abandoned the new regime by attempting to flee Paris. With better judgement, he might have overseen France’s transition to a constitutional monarchy. They got as far as Varennes, where they were arrested and turned back to the capital under guard. Louis’ safety came further under threat when secret papers were discovered hidden in the Tuileries palace where Louis had been staying. The Achille-Joseph Valois sculpture of France’s King Louis XVI pictured in 2003. Louis underwent surgery to correct this problem but Antoinette did not conceive a child until eight years after their marriage. Louis saw himself as a reforming monarch but took little lead. Louis XVI (born Louis-Auguste; August 23, 1754–January 21, 1793) was the French king whose reign collapsed because of the French Revolution. Because of this, the young prince was sidelined and not trained for royal duties. But others simply saw the need for a republic and the deputies who supported a constitutional monarchy suffered. He had no intention, at this moment or ever, of starting a civil war, nor of bringing back the Ancien Regime. For more information on usage, please refer to our Terms of Use. or Best Offer. In 1770 he married the Austrian princess Marie Antoinette, an arranged marriage for political purposes. French Monarch. 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. At the time of his birth, Louis was third in line to the throne, behind his father and older brother. ———— Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were guillotined on January 21 and October 16, 1793. 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. 4. Louis resolved to execute the constitution literally, in order to make other people aware of its need for reform. 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. In May 1774, Louis XV died and his grandson ascended to the throne, aged 19. 1. The financial state of France was in the toilet, and Louis XVI, without any previous political experience, was responsible for fixing it. He excelled at technical subjects and was deeply interested in geography, but historians are unsure about his level of intelligence. At birth, Louis was third in line to the French throne. Competent ministers gave the king sound advice on how to correct France’s financial woes. Ultimately, they condemned him to death by a simple majority. Hardcover $5.59 $ 5. Date accessed: January 14, 2021 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. 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. Louis XVI - Louis XVI was king of France when the French Revolution began. In 1789, in a last-ditch attempt to resolve his countrys financial crisis, Louis assembled the States-General, a national assembly that represented the three estates of the French peoplethe nobles, the clergy, and the commons. A historian’s view: Louis was now seen increasingly by his own public as an enemy. Louis XVI was the king of France from May 1774 until his execution in January 1793. 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. Historian Hilaire Belloc on Louis XVI’s character and personality (1911). 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 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. 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. Louis believed France needed a constitutional monarchy in which he had an equal say in government. 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. Louis XVI: Childhood. 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. $229.00. After his grandfather’s death on 10th May 1774, Louis XVI ascended the throne of France. 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. He was guillotined in 1793. 99 $4.99 $4.99. He initially refused to flee and gather forces. When his eldest son fell ill and died, Louis divorced himself from what was happening at key moments. 12 watching. Citation information He wanted a constitutional monarchy. Louis-Auguste was a keen student of language and history. Louis turned to Charles de Calonne to help reform France's fiscal system and save France from bankruptcy. Five years later, Louis entered into an arranged marriage with Marie Antoinette, a 14-year-old Austrian princess. 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. 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. France had not had a strong king since Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King. Louis was unable to unite his court. But he was horrified by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which offended his religious beliefs. Who was responsible for the French Revolution? Louis XVI’s mother in law helped the royal couple in their sex life. An avid hunter like his grandfat… The French economy struggled under Louis XVI due to large debt and massive expenses. 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. He succeeded his grandfather, Louis XV, as King of France on May 10, 1774 at the age of 20. 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. Louis XVI is generally portrayed as the fat, slow, silent monarch who oversaw the collapse of absolute monarchy. Louis was put on trial. Like all kings, Louis XVI had a duty … Louis was born at Versailles on 23 August 1754. A Matter of Bed and State. King of France . Louis approved support of the American revolutionaries against Britain in the American Revolutionary War. Free shipping. He was aloof and reserved, but possessed a genuine interest in the affairs of his kingdom, both internal and external. The statue is 12 feet tall and weighs 9 tons. The king was removed from power in August 1792, sent for trial in December and executed in January 1793. 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. The gathering of the Estates-General soon turned revolutionary. Most agree that both were factors: The time was ripe and Louis' faults certainly hastened the revolution. 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. 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. 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. 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. The execution was performed four days l… Robert Wilde is a historian who writes about European history. The infertility (for whatever reason) of Louis and his wife was a target of … Here is his last will and testament, written a month previous on Christmas Day. 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. “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.” 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. Date published: May 5, 2017 He is the author of the History in an Afternoon textbook series. There is no proof Louis ever intended to overthrow the National Assembly by force of arms—because he was afraid of civil war. Professor Osman assesses Louis XVI’s conduct during the American and French Revolutions and how he met his downfall. 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. He was executed by guillotine on January 21, 1793, but not before ordering his son to pardon those responsible if he had the chance. Louis XVI (born Louis-Auguste; August 23, 1754–January 21, 1793) was the French king whose reign collapsed because of the French Revolution. 2. URL: https://alphahistory.com/frenchrevolution/louis-xvi/ 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. Ask this question of someone with a rudimentary understanding of history and chances are they would name King Louis XVI (1754-1793). | May 21, 2013. 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. By late 1792 they had resolved to put the king on trial, not before an independent court but before the Convention itself. 1784 FRANCE SILVER ECU LOUIS XVI HUGE CROWN COIN. After donning the crown, things only got worse. 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. In the name of the Very holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The papers were used by enemies to claim the former king had engaged in counter-revolutionary activity. 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