Friday, April 27, 2012

X = XVI, Louis, King of France - A to Z


Louis XVI

Ending a Dynasty of a thousand years. . .

Louis XVI - King of France, Wikipedia (PD-Art)

 Louis XVI, King of France, was a Bourbon monarch who ruled France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of France from 1791 to 1792.  In 1792, the National Convention abolished the monarchy and declared France a republic.



Louis was born at Versailles on 23 August 1754. In 1770, he married Marie Antoinette, Austrian archduchess, daughter of the emperor and empress of Austria.
By the time that Louis-Auguste and Marie-Antoinette were married, the people of France generally regarded the Austrian alliance with dislike, and Marie-Antoinette was seen as an unwelcome foreigner.



In 1774, Louis succeeded his grandfather Louis XV as king of France.  Succeeding Louis XV, his unpopular grandfather, Louis XVI was well aware of the growing discontent of the French population against the absolute monarchy.



Louis XVI of France, by Antoine-François Callet (PD)



French support for the colonists in the American War of Independence had brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy. At the same time, accusations of frivolity, extravagance and scandalous behaviour against the queen, Marie Antoinette, further discredited the monarchy.  In 1789, to avert the deepening crisis, Louis agreed to summon the 'estates-general' in order to try and raise taxes.




Marie Antoinette, Queen to King Louis XVI, by DG Hudson


Rumours that the king intended to suppress the assembly provoked the popular storming of the Bastille prison, a symbol of repressive royal power, on 14 July 1789.  In October, Louis and his family were forced by the mob to return to Paris from their palace at Versailles. In June 1791, they attempted to escape, which many  considered proof of Louis' treasonable dealings with foreign powers. He was forced to accept a new constitution, thereby establishing a constitutional monarchy.


Louis XVI was found guilty of treason and executed at the guillotine on 21 January 1793. Marie Antoinette was executed nine months later, on October 16, 1793.

An era had come to an end. 


DG's Theme:  Paris, Etc. (Art, Film, Places, People)

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What do you think of the accusations aimed at Marie Antoinette?  True or False? 
She was only fifteen years old when married to Louis and brought to Versailles. 

 
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References:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/louis_xvi.shtml  Historic figures
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XVI_of_France Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_to_Varennes  Flight to Varennes

21 comments:

  1. Movies and stories about this time fascinate me from the angle that there is truly nothing new under the sun - politics, press, gossip, defamation of character, etc. seem to have been around since the beginning of time.

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    1. Human nature doesn't seem to have evolved, does it, J? Greed, power, and violence. We still have them.

      Delete
  2. Have you read The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson published in 2005? A fictional account, but excellent. I had no sympathy for her during her life but at the end, I was sad that she died.

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    1. No,I haven't, Anne, will look that one up. (I'll add it to the list)

      What kind of life would a living ex-queen have had? Spending the rest of her life in a tower?

      Delete
  3. i think if you have a monarchy, then you would expect some of this extravagance--especially of a child--although i guess at that time, she was not considered a child as we would consider today---but i don't believe she should have been executed---interesting post and question

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    1. Raised in a royal court, I don't think Marie was as inept at handling herself as some might think.

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  4. Hi DG .. interesting read - I hadn't remembered that they'd both been executed .. Amazing to have that 1,000 years of dynasty ..

    Great X post and photos once again .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Had to rescue the comments from spam again Hilary, sorry about that. Tech has its gaps still.

      I had no idea that the Bourbon kings had been in power that long. No wonder those poor Parisians got mad.

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  5. Hello, D.G.! History among the old monarchies is so fascinating. We'll never know what it was really like! Well, until time travel succeeds. :)

    Have a lovely weekend and happy A to Z!!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Laura. I dropped by your blog, too.

      History is fascinating, but we should learn from our mistakes.

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  6. To me, this was such a sad time for France. I think if you want to have a monarch, you need to make sure and take care of the people that put and keep you on that peddle stool. Right?

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    1. You're right, Mina, it was a sad time, but perhaps a cleansing time.

      Remember that the kings of this era believed they had the 'divine right' to rule, just as their ancestors had.

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  7. Returning your visit. I think killing off Royalty was a barbarous thing to do, we Brits did it with Charles I, albeit not with a guillotine. The Russians shot their tzar and the French went nuts with their guillotine chopping off heads willy nilly. I hadn't realised Marie Antoinette was so young. What a tragedy, I don't suppose anyone really taught her how to behave anyway. Reading some of the A to Z blogs, especially about British Castles has made me realise what a bloodthirsty lot we were in the old days.

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    1. Rough times, brutal tactics, and not enough education.

      Wiping out family lines was an effective way of eliminating a threat.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jo.

      Delete
  8. Execution has a way of doing that...

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    1. Yes, and the word 'execution' does have a 'final' sound to it, doesn't it?

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. I believe Marie Antoinette deserved better but the French Revolution became a ravenous monster, even eating its own. I have Marie Antoinette undead and well in my New Orleans haunted jazz club in my series of urban fantasies. My revenge against the blood-thirsty mob! LOL.

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    1. Nice to know she's been resurrected, Roland, and in a Jazz club too.

      Our tour guide at Versailles liked Marie as well, calling her 'the Queen'. She thought she was a victim of circumstance.

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  11. There's a line in the movie "Amadeus" where the Austrian emperor is discussing Mozart's libretto for Don Giovanni and the potential for it to cause a stir in the social classes where he refers to "my own cousin Antoinette..." and the French uprisings.

    Robespierre and the French Revolution are a piece of history we should not lose sight of. Today's political climate makes me wonder if our society is capable of such a reign of terror again.

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    1. I second that, Rick.

      I'm not sure how much world history is taught at the high school level today, but it's more important than ever when communication is global.

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