The Responsibility Of The Monarchy For Their Own Downfall In 1793

3005 words - 12 pages

The Responsibility of the Monarchy for Their Own Downfall in 1793

The French monarchy were responsible for some of the events which
contributed to

their downfall, however it must be said that some factors, such as the
Enlightenment

and the harvests failing could not be blamed on them, and it was the
way in which

they reacted to these events which made them seem weak in the eyes of
the French

people.

From the beginning of his reign it was clear that Louis XVI was ill
suited for the role

of king, and therefore it was inevitable that if an uprising did occur
he did not have

the necessary leadership qualities to stand against it. Though an
intelligent man,

Louis did not have the decisiveness nor the presence of mind to
maintain France's

prosperity when the nation began to mount vast international debts and
financial

crisis occurred. A more forceful man might have tried harder to make
his views heard, and suggested ways of improving the situation, for
example, setting up a national bank to take care of the country's
money, but Louis was too weak-willed to stand against his advisors
when they insisted that nothing should be done. The king had no
confidence in his own abilities and was perfectly content to let
others make his decisions for him, and as an absolute monarch he had
no coordinated government to rely upon. As well as this the king
presented the impression that he wasn't interested in his subjects and
made little effort to travel around France and discover what life was
like for them. He knew very little about his country and how it worked
and the French people believed that he did not understand them, which
was true. This made relations awkward between the king and his people
and caused them to resent him so that when the country began to
descend into revolution Louis had very few supporters. Therefore,
although Louis could have made more of an effort to assert himself and
relate to the public, it was not his fault that he was by nature a
poor leader.

Coupled with Louis's unsuitable character was that of his wife, the
Austrian Marie Antoinette, and the dreadful reputation she acquired
over the years. When the young princess arrived in France at the age
of fourteen she was embraced by the people, but soon they began to
resent her for her extravagance when it came to clothes and jewellery
and for her failure to produce an heir to the throne. In 1785 the
Diamond Necklace Affair was seen as a further example of the queen's
lavish spending habits and deceitfulness, as well as questioning the
strength of the absolutist monarchy[1]. Marie Antoinette, who had been
oblivious to the whole affair until the very end, suffered acutely
from press libelles. Developing an already fertile vein of court
pornography, the tale of the Diamond...

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