Was King Louis Xvi Partially Responsible For His Own Down Fall

1315 words - 5 pages

Was King Louis XVI partially responsible for his own downfallAwkward and timid, no man appeared less like a king than Louis XVI, he was merly 20 years old when he succeeded his grandfather Louis XV and came in to the throne. No one could have seemed more out of place than he did. Louis himself realised this and often wished, even before the revolution, that he were a common man. Although he made an earnest effort to reform the government at the time, when his predecessor had so far exhausted the people's good will for trust in the monarchy. His greatest fault was that he was easily influenced. He was always ready to listen to others and take their advice. When the advice was good, everything was fine, but later in Louis XVI's reign the advice was bad and a culmination of mistakes cost the king his life.Upon his accesion to the throne the government was deeply in debt and the tax system a shambles. He re-established the parlament of Paris, which had not met for many years. Tradition was that a decree of the king did not take effect until it had been registered by the parlament of Paris. One History I have cosulted delairs that Parlament swere bastions of reactionism, supporters of arristocracy, and that Louis's re-establishment of them shows him to have been an enemy of progress and of the people. Another says that the people greatly desired the recall of the parlaments, and by doing so Louis showed himself to be a friend of progress and of the people.Although his early attempts to enact reforms and to appoint competent and upright ministers met with general approval, his character was unsuited to provide the leadership needed to controll the complex social and political conflict smoldering in France. So his able ministers A.R.J Turgot and Chretien de Malesherbes began the reforms, but the court opposed them and as a result Turgot was dismissed and Malesherbes resigned. Jaques Necker was then appointed director of the treasury.The king supported most of Neckers Reforms, but France's intervention in the American Revolution was a very costly affair, primarily motivated by their revenge for the British, it more than cancelled their savings and as well as Necker borrowing large sums of money it greatly swelt the debt. Neckers attempt to gain greater controll over policy was rebuffed by the court and he later resigned. Charles Alexandre de Calonne and Charles Lomenie de Brienne then replaced him. After borrowing money from the court for 3 years, until the borrowing limit was reached, they concluded that they had no sollution and were unable to ward off the bankruptcy. A further tax reform was sought, and the king convoked the Assembly of Notables and asked their concent to tax the privaledged classes. The notables made a few minor reforms but refused to consent to taxation, referring this to the states general.The French people, angered by the taxes and the excesive spending of the court then recalled Necker, who however could not prevent the...

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