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Were causes downfall louis xvi he fully responsible his ow

How responsible was Louis XVI for the crisis of 1789? At his trial, purely for show, none had been in doubt of the sentence. Nine months before his wife, Marie Antoinette, would be taken to her death upon the guillotine, Louis was making his last journey. As the blade fell upon his neck, the revolution hit a peak it had been building to for over one hundred years.

Yet were the heads that rolled the culprits?

  1. This illustrates how the upper classes would always come first to Louis - and that is mainly why he never saw the revolution coming from below. He is even more opposed to them than his grandfather.
  2. However, by letting himself be taken in by Franklin and Vergennes a known Anglophobe , Louis indirectly demonstrated to the French people how he himself could be toppled.
  3. Despite strong personal convictions on many subjects, his mind could be eventually swayed by a clever word, which led to the downfall of his country.
  4. Yet were the heads that rolled the culprits?

In reality, the Revolution could have fallen at any time, yet needed only a catalyst to set it off. This study will attempt to divine whether Louis XVI brought about his own downfall, while Louis XIV and Louis XV trod a careful line, or whether his fate was inescapable, and his predecessors had doomed the king from the start. His accession to the throne in 1774 was certainly met with a different reaction from the public of France. After his father had died of tuberculosis in 1765, Louis became the new Dauphin, though he had been third in line and lacked the proper training and had been largely neglected by the king.

In this respect, Louis XVI started his reign in the best possible way to avoid the events of 1789 — he had thunderous public approval and succeeded a problem-wracked reign, making all of his achievements seem momentous. This situation rapidly deteriorated, however.

  • This is an example, though, of an event which Louis could perhaps not have prevented but could have clearly acted upon afterwards — something he failed to do;
  • He is even more opposed to them than his grandfather;
  • This situation rapidly deteriorated, however;
  • Padover sheds light on the issue which goes against the usual grain of thinking — that Louis took France to war and paid dearly for it;
  • Many of the examples I have looked at show that Louis brought about his own downfall as a lazy man of no small intelligence, who was taken in by ministers and abandoned his government;
  • His accession to the throne in 1774 was certainly met with a different reaction from the public of France.

Without this hub of authority, the governmental system fell apart. Louis XV, despite neglecting his duties and tasks as a governmental instrument, delegated these tasks to Cardinal Fleury, who assumed de facto control of the government while Louis himself remained as the de jure king of France.

  • Without the head of the snake, and no prime minister appointed, the government coughed and spluttered ineffectually as it attempted to function;
  • He is even more opposed to them than his grandfather;
  • Nonetheless, Louis himself was responsible for many of the reasons that built up to the crisis in 1789 on a personal level.

Nevertheless, this view is challenged by that of John Hardman, who indicates that Maurepas was very much involved in governmental affairs, just seemingly giving the wrong or poor advice, as he was unsuited to such a position of power.

However, Maurepas never officially received the position, though he utilised the power of it for many years until his death in 1781. He is even more opposed to them than his grandfather. In 1775, just a year into his reign, the American War of Independence began in earnest with the formation of the Second Continental Congress. In spite of few direct wars with other countries during his reign, Louis inherited a keen dislike and wariness of the British, who were becoming, if not were already, the dominant colonial power at that time.

  1. Had Louis not bowed to outside influence and political pressure, as he often did, France may have seen the economic upturn it so desperately needed in these vital years — it was not to be. As we can see from the examples currently set forth, Louis was not an incapable monarch, yet he was indecisive and easily manipulated by his ministers and courtiers.
  2. This in itself whipped up resentment for the higher classes, who lived on while, ironically, the people who worked the land that grew the food starved.
  3. Without the head of the snake, and no prime minister appointed, the government coughed and spluttered ineffectually as it attempted to function. Nine months before his wife, Marie Antoinette, would be taken to her death upon the guillotine, Louis was making his last journey.
  4. He retired in the early 1780s, but due to the ineptness of his successor, Calonne, he was reluctantly recalled to his post in 1788, mainly to rectify the mistakes of his own ministerial role years before. In the event of Revolution, many of the nobles he had supported abandoned him, and the weight of a century of absolutist rule came crashing down upon his neck.
  5. Without the head of the snake, and no prime minister appointed, the government coughed and spluttered ineffectually as it attempted to function. Louis, as a hereditary monarch, came to the throne through no choice of his own or political or intellectual merit.

As a consequence, when the Thirteen Colonies revolted against British rule, Louis saw an opportunity to gain revenge upon the British by supporting the Patriot troops with funds and troops. With the continental contributions to the American forces, especially naval, the balance of power was evened up — but at a huge cost to France, for no real gain other than a snide jab at Britain.

Louis poured funds into the campaign, heaping taxes upon the peasants, who saw nothing for their toils, bankrupting the French coffers and what little respect that remained for Louis XVI. Furthermore, many of the French men who enlisted went to fight in a country that was gaining freedom from a tyrannical rule, and creating their own, fairer democracy.

Padover sheds light on the issue which goes against the usual grain of thinking — that Louis took France to war and paid dearly for it. By subsiding a large commercial company, they supplied the Patriots with weapons and ammunition on the basis of a private commercial exchange.

However, by letting himself be taken in by Franklin and Vergennes a known AnglophobeLouis indirectly demonstrated to the French people how he himself could be toppled.

As we can see from the examples currently set forth, Louis was not an incapable monarch, yet he was indecisive and easily manipulated by his ministers and courtiers.

Despite strong personal convictions on many subjects, his mind could be eventually swayed by a clever word, which led to the downfall of his country. One particular area in which the French economy was very nearly salvaged was in his appointment of Comptroller-Generals, yet he managed to destroy all their work by pandering to political intrigues with their respective dismissals.

Were causes downfall louis xvi he fully responsible his ow Robert Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune, was the first minister to ascend to the position in 1774. Had Louis not bowed to outside influence and political pressure, as he often did, France may have seen the economic upturn it so desperately needed in these vital years — it was not to be.

With enemies of Turgot gathering all around, mainly the wealthy owners of monopolies feeling their riches being snatched from them, and figures such as Maurepas and Marie-Antoinette also, Louis dismissed Turgot and his reforms before many could do the good they were intended to. In this respect, Louis discharged an able reformer and minister who could have steered France from the economic doom which was to play a vital factor in the crisis that was to come — with little to no outside persuasion on the matter.

Necker did, however, have one thing going for him — he was popular with the people due to his short-term achievements, which slightly improved their lot and eliminated the needs for excessive taxation.

According to Cobban, his greatest damage to France was the publication of the Compte-rendu au Roi, a report to the king of the finances of the nation. He retired in the early 1780s, but due to the ineptness of his successor, Calonne, he was reluctantly recalled to his post in 1788, mainly to rectify the mistakes of his own ministerial role years before.

  • However, by letting himself be taken in by Franklin and Vergennes a known Anglophobe , Louis indirectly demonstrated to the French people how he himself could be toppled;
  • Louis was abandoning the peasants in their time of need, with all his available funds going into debt payment and wars rather than sourcing provisions for the starving population;
  • Had Louis not bowed to outside influence and political pressure, as he often did, France may have seen the economic upturn it so desperately needed in these vital years — it was not to be;
  • Due to a series of failed harvests and grain shortages, the price of bread skyrocketed;
  • Coupled with the reintroduction of the Parlement, who did nothing but make legislative reform more difficult for the struggling ministers, this proved to be a flaw that condemned the French economy to ruin.

Turgot, an able and innovative Comptroller-General, was dismissed due to a personal fear by Louis and through the influences of his wife and ministers, and not through any disability to handle the French economic situation at the time. Necker, regardless of contrasting views given on his proficiency at taking France out of its financial rut, was dismissed at a time when a more able monarch and politician would have seen the Third Estate were at the very verge of revolution, and a more sensible course of action would have been to keep him on but limit his powers until he could be safely removed from office.

In effect, his incapacity as a statesman led to the crisis of 1789 and only inflamed the anger of the soon-to-be revolutionaries of the Third Estate. There were many events and natural proceedings that he could not prevent, namely, the great famines of the 1770s, and 1789 itself.

Due to a series of failed harvests and grain shortages, the price of bread skyrocketed. The First and Second Estates, rich enough to source foreign foods or buy the now-more-expensive bread costs, survived with a little hardship monetarily, yet the peasantry were reduced to almost the rags they lived in.

This in itself whipped up resentment for the higher classes, who lived on while, ironically, the people who worked the land that grew the food starved. This is an example, though, of an event which Louis could perhaps not have prevented but could have clearly acted upon afterwards — something he failed to do.

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Louis was abandoning the peasants in their time of need, with all his available funds going into debt payment and wars rather than sourcing provisions for the starving population. The Third Estate were crippled by the famines, and the bourgeoisie even fell on hard times, as the prices of food skyrocketed and only the nobility managed to maintain their previous standards of living, with minor cutbacks.

With their monarch ignoring them and their families dying, the paysans of France knew that if anything were to change for the better of the Third Estate, then the absolutist monarchy would have to be reformed or removed.

Louis was further inconvenienced by the perpetual set of political scales he was balancing — between the Second and Third Estates. If reforms had passed, and the nobility had been taxed akin to the peasants, then they would have revolted, amassing armies through their vast wealth and influence abroad. Necker, ever the popular champion of the people, proved this conclusively with the huge outcry when he was dismissed in 1790. The king was stuck in a dilemma; he needed to adhere to the obvious wishes of the population, or keep his noblemen and other countries happy, of which he predictably opted for the latter.

This illustrates how the upper classes would always come first to Louis - and that is mainly why he never saw the revolution coming from below.

How far was the monarchy responsible for its own downfall in September 1792? Explain your Answer.

So how responsible was Louis for the Revolution that claimed his throne and his life? Many of the examples I have looked at show that Louis brought about his own downfall as a lazy man of no small intelligence, who was taken in by ministers and abandoned his government. In these respects Louis did indeed fail his country, yet in a way, ignorance may be pleaded. Louis, as a hereditary monarch, came to the throne through no choice of his own or political or intellectual merit. In the event of Revolution, many of the nobles he had supported abandoned him, and the weight of a century of absolutist rule came crashing down upon his neck.

Nonetheless, Louis himself was responsible for many of the reasons that built up to the crisis in 1789 on a personal level.

As king of France he had an amount of power too great for even the cunning Maurepas to fully control, and as such his decisions must be assessed as his own unless a majority of evidence states otherwise.

Without the head of the snake, and no prime minister appointed, the government coughed and spluttered ineffectually as it attempted to function. Coupled with the reintroduction of the Parlement, who did nothing but make legislative reform more difficult for the struggling ministers, this proved to be a flaw that condemned the French economy to ruin.

Volume One 1715 — 1799 — Pg.