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Louis XVI of France

Louis XVI of France
Louis XVI King of France and Navarre HM The King of the France HM The King of France and Navarre HRH The Dauphin of Viennois HRH The Duke of Berry Father Mother Born Died Burial Louis, Dauphin of France Marie-Josèphe of Saxony 23 August 1754(1754-08-23) Palace of Versailles, France 21 January 1793 (aged 38) (executed) Paris, France Saint Denis Basilica, France (21 January 1815, at time of Bourbon Restoration)

Louis XVI (23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793) ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1774 until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792. Suspended and arrested during the Insurrection of 10 August 1792, he was tried by the National Convention, found guilty of treason, and executed by guillotine on 21 January 1793. He was the only king of France to be executed. Although Louis was beloved at first, his indecisiveness and conservatism led some eleLouis XVI by Joseph Siffred Duplessis ments of the people of France to eventually 10 May 1774 – 10 August 1792 Reign view him as a symbol of the perceived tyranny of the Ancien Régime. After the abol11 June 1775 Coronation ition of the monarchy in 1792, the new rePredecessor Louis XV publican government gave him the surname Successor Monarchy abolished Capet, a reference to the nickname of Hugh De facto National Convention, ruling Capet, founder of the Capetian dynasty, legislative body of the French First which the revolutionaries wrongly interRepublic preted as a family name. He was also informDe jure Louis XVII ally nicknamed Louis le Dernier (Louis the Next reigning Monarch: Napoleon I (in 1804) Last), a derisive use of the traditional nickMarie Antoinette of Austria Spouse naming of French kings. Today, historians Issue and French people in general have a more nuanced view of Louis XVI, who is seen as an Marie-Thérèse Charlotte de France honest man with good intentions, but who Louis-Joseph, Dauphin of France was probably unfit for the herculean task of Louis-Charles, future titular Louis XVII Sophie Hélène Béatrix de France reforming the monarchy, and who was used as a scapegoat by the revolutionaries.[1] Full name
Louis-Auguste de France
Detail

Childhood
Louis-Auguste de France, who was given the title of duc de Berry at birth, was born in the

Titles and styles

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Palace of Versailles in France. Out of eight children, he was the third son of the Dauphin Louis-Ferdinand, and thus the grandson of Louis XV of France and of his consort, Maria Leszczyńska. His mother was Marie-Josèphe of Saxony, the daughter of Frederick Augustus II of Saxony, Prince-Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. Louis-Auguste had a difficult childhood because his parents neglected him in favor of his bright and handsome older brother, Louis, duc de Bourgogne, who died at the age of ten in 1761. A strong and healthy boy, although very shy, he excelled in his studies and had a strong taste for Latin, history, geography, and astronomy, and became fluent in Italian and English. He enjoyed manual activities, such as working on locks, and also hunting with his grandfather, Louis XV, and rough-playing with his younger brothers, Louis-Stanislas, comte de Provence, and Charles-Philippe, comte d’Artois. Upon the death of his father, who died of tuberculosis on 20 December 1765, the eleven-year-old Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin. His mother, who had never recovered from the loss of her husband, died on 13 March 1767, also from tuberculosis.[2] The strict and conservative education he received from the duc de La Vauguyon, "gouverneur des Enfants de France" (governor of the Children of France) from 1760 until his marriage in 1770 did not prepare him for the throne he was to inherit in 1774 at the death of his grandfather.

Louis XVI of France

Marie Antoinette Queen of France with her three oldest children, Marie-Thérèse, Louis-Charles and Louis-Joseph. Sophie Hélène Béatrix de France, Mademoiselle Sophie, originally in the cradle, was painted out after her death. By Élisabeth VigéeLebrun (1787)

Family life

Louis XVI by Antoine-François Callet, 1786 Sophie Hélène Béatrix de France, Mademoiselle Sophie, by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (1786) On 16 May 1770, at the age of fifteen, LouisAuguste married the fourteen-year-old

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Austrian-born Archduchess Maria Antonia von Habsburg-Lothringen (better known by the French form of her name, Marie Antoinette), the youngest daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and of his wife, the Empress Maria Theresa. The marriage was initially amiable but distant. The dauphin wrote to Louis XV that he had "made the dauphine his wife" as early as 1772, but she still remained childless, much to her distress. At the same time, the future Louis XVI’s fear of being manipulated by Marie-Antoinette for Imperial purposes caused him to behave coldly towards her in public, although this did not stop him from giving her the Petit Trianon as a gift in 1774.[3] Over time, the couple (who were second cousins once removed) became closer, and their first child was born in December of 1778.

Louis XVI of France
revolutionary new fiscal reform proposed by Calonne. When the nobles were told the extent of the debt, they were shocked into rejecting the plan. This negative turn of events signaled to Louis that he had lost the ability to rule as an absolute monarch, and he fell into depression. As power drifted from him, there were increasingly loud calls for him to convoke the Estates-General, and in May 1789 he did so, summoning it for the first time since 1614 in a last-ditch attempt to get new monetary reforms approved. This convocation was one of the events that transformed the general economic and political malaise of the country into the French Revolution, which began in June 1789, when the Third Estate unilaterally declared itself the National Assembly. Louis’s attempts to control it resulted in the Tennis Court Oath (serment du jeu de paume, 20 June), and the declaration of the National Constituent Assembly on 9 July. Within three short months, the majority of the king’s executive authority had been transferred to the elected representatives of the people’s nation. The storming of the Bastille on 14 July served to reinforce and emphasize this radical change in the mind of the masses. Silver Ecu of Louis XVI, struck 1785

Absolute monarch of France, 1774-1789
When Louis XVI succeeded to the throne in 1774, he was nineteen. He had an enormous responsibility, as the government was deeply in debt, and resentment towards ’despotic’ monarchy was on the rise. Louis also felt woefully unqualified for the job. He aimed to earn the love of his people by reinstating the parlements. While none doubted Louis’ intellectual ability to rule France, it was quite clear that, although raised as the Dauphin since 1765, he was indecisive and not firm enough to rule.[4] Louis therefore appointed an experienced advisor, Jean-Frédéric Phélypeaux, comte de Maurepas who, until his death in 1781, would take charge on many important ministerial decisions. Radical financial reforms by Turgot and Malesherbes angered the nobles and were blocked by the parlements who insisted that the King did not have the legal right to levy new taxes. So Turgot was dismissed in 1776 and Malesherbes resigned in 1776 to be replaced by Jacques Necker. Necker supported the American Revolution, and proceeded with a policy of taking out large international loans instead of raising taxes. When this policy failed miserably, Louis dismissed him, and replaced him in 1783 with Charles Alexandre de Calonne, who increased public spending to ’buy’ the country’s way out of debt. Again this failed, so Louis convoked the Assembly of Notables in 1787 to discuss a

Obverse: (Latin) LUD[OVICVS] XVI D[EI] G[RATIA] F[RANCIA] ET NA[VARRE] RE[X] or in English, "Louis XVI, By the Grace of God, King of France and Navarre."

Reverse: (Latin) SIT NOMEN DOMINI BENEDICTUM 1785, or in English, "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord, 1785."

Revolutionary constitutional reign, 1789–1792
On 5 October 1789, an angry mob of Parisian women who were poor under the rule of Louis XVI had been incited by revolutionaries and marched on the Palace of Versailles, where the royal family lived. During the

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night, they infiltrated the palace and attempted to kill the queen, who was associated with a frivolous lifestyle that symbolized much that was despised about the Ancient Regime. After the situation had been defused, the king and his family were brought back by the crowd to Paris to live in the Tuileries Palace. The reasoning behind this forced departure from Versailles was the opinion the king would be more accountable to the people if he lived among them in Paris where he and his family could be better monitored.

Louis XVI of France
indecisiveness. During these indecisive moments, his wife, the unpopular queen, was essentially forced into assuming the role of decision-maker for the Crown. The revolution’s principles of popular sovereignty, though central to democratic principles of later eras, marked a decisive break from the absolute monarchical principle that was at the heart of traditional French government. As a result, the revolution was opposed by many of the rural people of France and by practically all the governments of France’s neighbors. As the revolution became more radical and the masses became more uncontrollable, several leading figures in the initial formation of the revolution began to doubt its benefits. Some like Honoré Mirabeau secretly plotted with the Crown to restore its power in a new constitutional form. However, Mirabeau’s sudden death, and Louis’s indecision, fatally weakened negotiations between the Crown and moderate politicians. On one hand, Louis was nowhere near as reactionary as his brothers, the Comte de Provence and the Comte d’Artois, and he repeatedly sent messages to them requesting a halt to their attempts to launch counter-coups. This was often done through his secretly nominated regent, the Cardinal Loménie de Brienne. On the other hand, Louis was alienated from the new democratic government both by its negative reaction to the traditional role of the monarch and in its treatment of him and his family. He was particularly irked by being kept essentially as a prisoner in the Tuileries, where his wife was being humiliatingly forced to have revolutionary soldiers in her private bedroom watching her as she slept, and by the refusal of the new regime to allow him to have confessors and priests of his choice rather than ’constitutional priests’ pledged to the state and not the Roman Catholic Church. On 21 June 1791, Louis attempted to secretly flee with his family from Paris to the royalist fortress town of Montmédy on the northeastern border of France in order to conduct a struggle to overthrow the Legislative Assembly.[5] However, flaws in its plan and lack of rapidity were responsible for the failure of the escape. The royal family was arrested at Varennes-en-Argonne shortly after Jean-Baptiste Drouet, postmaster of the town of Sainte-Menehould, had recognised the king from his profile printed on a golden écu, and had given the alert. Louis XVI and his

Tinted etching of Louis XVI, 1792. The caption refers to the date of the Tennis Court Oath and concludes "The same Louis XVI who bravely waits until his fellow citizens return to their hearths to plan a secret war and exact his revenge." Initially, after the removal of the royal family to Paris, Louis maintained a certain level of popularity by acquiescing to many of the social, political, and economic reforms of the revolutionaries. Unbeknownst to the public, however, recent scholarship has concluded that Louis began to suffer at the time from severe bouts of clinical depression, which left him prone to paralyzing

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family were brought back to Paris where they arrived on 25 June. Viewed suspiciously as traitors, they were placed under tight house arrest upon their return to the Tuileries.

Louis XVI of France
émigrés nobles abroad, especially in the Austrian Netherlands and the minor states of Germany. In the end, the Legislative Assembly, supported by Louis, declared war on the Holy Roman Empire first, voting for war on 20 April 1792, after a long list of grievances was presented to it by the foreign minister, Charles François Dumouriez. Dumouriez prepared an immediate invasion of the Austrian Netherlands, where he expected the local population to rise against Austrian rule. However, the revolution had thoroughly disorganised the army, and the forces raised were insufficient for the invasion. The soldiers fled at the first sign of battle, deserting en masse and in one case, murdering their general.

The return of the royal family to Paris on 25 June 1791, colored copperplate after a drawing of Jean-Louis Prieur The other monarchies of Europe looked with concern upon the developments in France, and considered whether they should intervene, either in support of Louis or to take advantage of the chaos in France. The key figure was Marie Antoinette’s brother, the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II. Initially, he had looked on the revolution with equanimity. However, he became more and more disturbed as it became more and more radical. Despite this, he still hoped to avoid war. On 27 August, Leopold and King Frederick William II of Prussia, in consultation with émigrés French nobles, issued the Declaration of Pilnitz, which declared the interest of the monarchs of Europe in the well-being of Louis and his family, and threatened vague but severe consequences if anything should befall them. Although Leopold saw the Pillnitz Declaration as an easy way to appear concerned about the developments in France without committing any soldiers or finances to change them, the revolutionary leaders in Paris viewed it fearfully as a dangerous foreign attempt to undermine France’s sovereignty. In addition to the ideological differences between France and the monarchical powers of Europe, there were continuing disputes over the status of Austrian estates in Alsace, and the concern of members of the National Constituent Assembly about the agitation of

The Storming of the Tuileries Palace. While the revolutionary government frantically raised fresh troops and reorganised its armies, a mostly Prussian allied army under Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick assembled at Coblenz on the Rhine. In July, the invasion commenced, with Brunswick’s army easily taking the fortresses of Longwy and Verdun. The duke then issued on 25 July a proclamation called the Brunswick Manifesto, written by Louis’s émigré cousin, the Prince de Condé, declaring the intent of the Austrians and Prussians to restore the king to his full powers and to treat any person or town who opposed them as rebels to be condemned to death by martial law. Contrary to its intended purpose of strengthening the position of the king against the revolutionaries, the Brunswick Manifesto had the opposite effect of greatly undermining Louis’s already highly tenuous position in Paris. It was taken by many to be the final proof of a collusion between Louis and foreign powers in a conspiracy against his own

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country. The anger of the populace boiled over on 10 August when a group of Parisians — with the backing of a new municipal government of Paris that came to be known as the "insurrectionary" Paris Commune — besieged the Tuileries Palace. The king and the royal family took shelter with the Legislative Assembly.

Louis XVI of France
as the Mountain – argued for Louis’s immediate execution. The legal background of many of the deputies made it difficult for a great number of them to accept an execution without due process of some sort, and it was voted that the deposed monarch should be tried before the National Convention, the organ that housed the representatives of the sovereign people. On 11 December, among crowded and silent streets, the deposed king was brought from the Temple to stand before the Convention and hear his indictment, an accusation of High Treason and Crimes against the State. On 26 December, his counsel, Raymond de Sèze, delivered Louis’s response to the charges, with the assistance of François Tronchet and Malesherbes. On 15 January 1793, the Convention, composed of 721 deputies, voted out the verdict, which was a foregone conclusion – 693 voted guilty, and none voted for acquittal. The next day, a voting roll-call was carried out in order to decide upon the fate of the king, and the result was, for such a dramatic decision, uncomfortably close. 288 deputies voted against death and for some other alternative, mainly some means of imprisonment or exile. 72 deputies voted for the death penalty, but subject to a number of delaying conditions and reservations. 361 deputies voted for Louis’s immediate death.

Arrest and execution, 1792-1793
See also: trial of Louis XVI and execution of Louis XVI

Louis XVI imprisoned at the Tour du Temple, by Jean-François Garneray (1755-1837). His cousin, the Duke of Orleans was the one responsible for spreading rumors about Louis’ wife which caused people to get very angry. Louis was officially arrested on 13 August and sent to the Temple, an ancient Paris fortress used as a prison. On 21 September, the National Assembly declared France to be a republic and abolished the monarchy. The Girondins were partial to keeping the deposed king under arrest, both as a hostage and a guarantee for the future. The more radical members – mainly the Commune and Parisian deputies who would soon be known

Execution of Louis XVI in the Place de la Révolution. The empty pedestal in front of him had supported a statue of his grandfather, Louis XV, torn down during one of the many revolutionary riots. The next day, a motion to grant Louis reprieve from the death sentence was voted down; 310 deputies requested mercy, 380 voted for the execution of the death penalty.

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This decision would be final. On Monday, 21 January 1793, stripped of all titles and honorifics by the republican government, Citoyen Louis Capet was guillotined in front of a cheering crowd in what today is the Place de la Concorde. The executioner, Charles Henri Sanson, testified that the former King had bravely met his fate.[6] As Louis mounted the scaffold he appeared dignified and resigned. He attempted a speech in which he reasserted his innocence and pardoned those responsible for his death. He declared himself willing to die and prayed that the people of France would be spared a similar fate. He seemed about to say more when Antoine-Joseph Santerre, a general in the National Guard (France), cut Louis off by ordering a drum roll. The former king was then quickly beheaded. Accounts of Louis’s beheading indicate that the blade did not sever his neck entirely the first time. There are also accounts of a blood-curdling scream issuing from Louis after the blade fell but this is unlikely as the blade severed Louis’s spine. It is agreed however that, as Louis’s blood dripped to the ground, many in the crowd ran forward to dip their handkerchiefs in it.[7]

Louis XVI of France
Without Me, Louis XVI is portrayed by Hugh Griffith as a laughable cuckold. In the two-part film La Révolution française, Jean-François Balmer gave a critically-acclaimed performance as Louis XVI, whom he portrayed as an insecure, shy, yet decent and intelligent man. In Ridicule, the king was played by Urbain Cancelier. In Jefferson in Paris, Louis XVI was played by Michael Lonsdale who, at 64 years old, greatly exceeded the King’s actual age. In Marie Antoinette (2006), he was played by Jason Schwartzman, in a movie known not to be historically accurate because the historical Louis was quite tall and is known to have gained a great deal of weight towards the end of his life. In the 1997 movie Titanic, a necklace called the Heart of the Ocean held a precious, heart-shaped blue diamond, supposedly fashioned from Louis XVI’s crown, which disappeared after his execution. The history of the necklace was inspired by that of the Hope Diamond. Louis XVI is a supporting character in the manga The Rose of Versailles (also known as Lady Oscar). In the American supernatural television drama Moonlight, Louis XVI is mentioned as the progenitor of a vampiric bloodline which discovered a temporary cure for vampirism.

Legacy
• Louisville, Kentucky is named for Louis XVI. In 1780, the Virginia General Assembly bestowed this name in honor of the French king, whose soldiers were aiding the American side in the Revolutionary War. The Virginia General Assembly saw the King as a noble man, but many other continental delegates disagreed.

Ancestors
.

References
[1] Pouvait-on réformer la monarchie? [2] Lever, Évelyne, Louis XVI, Librairie Arthème Fayard, Paris, 1985 [3] Fraser, Antonia, Marie Antoinette, pp.100-102 [4] Andress, David,(2005) The Terror, pp.13 [5] http://www.brad.ac.uk/admin/pr/ february2003/french.php [6] Alberge, Dalya. What the King said to the executioner..., The Times, 8 April 2006. Accessed 26 June 2008. [7] Andress, David, The Terror, 2005, p. 147. • Doyle, William (2002). The Oxford History of the French Revolution. UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199252985. Pages 194-196 deal with the trial of Louis XVI. • Mignet, François Auguste (1824). "History of the French Revolution from 1789 to

In films and literature
Louis XVI has been portrayed in numerous films depicting the French Revolution. In Marie Antoinette (1938), he was played by Robert Morley. In Sacha Guitry’s Si Versailles m’était conté, he was portrayed by one of the film’s producers, Gilbert Bokanowski (using the alias Gilbert Boka), who arguably resembled him. Several portrayals have upheld the image of a bumbling, almost foolish King, such as that by Jacques Morel in the 1956 French film Marie-Antoinette reine de France and that by Terence Budd in the Lady Oscar live action film. In Start the Revolution

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Louis XVI of France House of Bourbon Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty Born: 23 August 1754 Died: 21 January 1793 French royalty Preceded by Louis Regnal titles Preceded by Louis XV King of France and Navarre 10 May 1774 – 1 October 1791 King of the French 1 October 1791 – 21 September 1792 Titles in pretence Loss of title Monarchy abolished
— TITULAR —

Louis XVI of France

Dauphin of France 20 December 1765 – 10 May 1774

Succeeded by Louis-Joseph Succeeded by National Convention; eventually Napoléon I
as Emperor of the French

King of France and Navarre 1 October 1791 – 21 January 1793 Reason for succession failure: French Revolution (1789-1799)

Succeeded by Louis XVII

1814". Project Gutenberg. http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext06/ 8hfrr10.txt. See Chapter VI, The National Convention, for more details on the king’s trial and execution.

Persondata NAME ALTERNATIVE NAMES SHORT DESCRIPTION Louis XVI Louis-Auguste French monarch 23 August 1754 Palace of Versailles, France 21 January 1793 Paris, France

External links

• http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/ DATE OF BIRTH fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=2231&pt=+Louis+XVI PLACE OF BIRTH - Find A Grave • Encyclopaedia Britannica, Louis XVI - full DATE OF DEATH access article • Works by or about Louis XVI of France in PLACE OF DEATH libraries (WorldCat catalog)

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XVI_of_France" Categories: 1754 births, 1793 deaths, People from Versailles, Kings of France, Dauphins of France, Dukes of Berry, People executed by guillotine during the French Revolution, Executed French people, Executed reigning monarchs, Roman Catholic monarchs, Knights of the Golden Fleece, Princes of Andorra, People executed for treason against France, Leaders ousted by a coup, Heads of state tried for major crimes, Princes of France (Bourbon), Murdered monarchs This page was last modified on 21 May 2009, at 19:40 (UTC). All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) taxdeductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers

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