Was it really Louis XVI’s fault?

When Louis XVI was throned, he was around 20 years of age and very inexperienced. Historians believe that the economic, political, and social state of France was already at rock bottom before Louis XVI came into power. They claim that no matter what he did France would still be at a very poor fragile state. Louis XVI tried his best to make France a better and less tyrannical country. He even supported the French Revolution, in order to make his people happy.


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7 Responses to Was it really Louis XVI’s fault?

  1. Joe says:

    Although Louis XVI was throned at a young age and was therefore very inexperienced, I am not so sure that he did much to propel France out of its massive debt and economic instability. Instead, it appears that the situation in France seemed to get worse during his reign, as most people felt the burden of financial instability well after Louis XVI was crowned. I feel that an assertive leader is much better than a wavering monarch, because even if his decisions might not prove to be the best at first, the decisive man at least makes progress. When times get tough, people would rather see changes being made than watch a man ponder what to do, then decide on something, and finally retract it all because someone else does not seem to approve. Lastly, I do not believe that a man would try to escape the revolution if he genuinely supported it, because he abandoned his people for his own sake. He was forced to go back to Paris by the local leaders on the French-Austrian Netherlands border, while his choice was to tell municipal officers that mobs controlled Paris in order to get away from the revolt.

  2. ageyelin2015 says:

    I agree with Joe. While the state of France was not ideal when he came into power, his indecisiveness and lack of leadership skills contributed to the infrastructural and societal instability that crippled the nation. While the initial demise may not be his fault, he certainly did not take any decisive action in order to better the state of France.

  3. lcharpentier2013 says:

    I believe that Louis XVI’s main flaw was that he was indeed always trying to please the people. Although on the surface this is an admirable quality, his indecisive behavior is what puts Louis XVI at fault. The social state of France was rock bottom before Louis XVI came in to power, but as a king, it is Louis’s responsibility to help France’s state, not make it worse. Firstly, he called an Assembly of Notables which in turn did not agree with his policies. To reassert his authority he dismissed the notables and established new taxes by decree. His decisions caused a wave of protest from the country which caused Louis to bow to public opinion. Another instance where the king is weak is when he responds to the National Assembly by urging reforms between the three estates. Despite this, quickly after he called an army to dismiss the finance minister and other liberal ministers. He suddenly changing attitudes towards the liberals is another example of his indecisive and weak behavior. It is obviously good for a King to look out for their people, but unfortunately the King’s inexcusable inexperience, and indecisiveness caused France to face more harm than good as a result of the King’s actions.

  4. DoonlyLoonToon says:

    Of course it wasn’t Louis XVI’s fault. But he is still reponsible for what happened on his watch. Just like how Obama is responsible for the poor state of our country, despite Bush and the republican party in general being the ones who screwed everything up.

  5. CHudson says:

    I think that Louis XVI’s biggest problem was the fact that he was TOO nice. When he took the throne at such a young age, there were already an abundance of angry and unhappy people in France, along with some people that were happy in the state France was in. When Louis XVI tried to please the unhappy people by telling them that he was with them, the people that were happy with the present France grew unhappy. Louis XVI then became hated by many more people then before, and was eventually in a place where he couldn’t escape; sandwiched between angry peasants and unruly nobles.

  6. Maggie says:

    This post includes a lot of good ideas to think about. However, I’m not sure if Louis XVI’s young age is an excuse for his poor ruling; despite his age, he was not exactly the best leader. Although France may have been in a bad condition when he took the throne, its condition continued to decline. I think that it was part of Louis XVI’s responsibility to at least prevent decline, if not make things better. Another thing is that he was very easily swayed by the French people and was more intent on keeping them satisfied than doing what was best for the country at the time. When the third estate created the National Assembly, Louis XVI eventually forced the first and second estates to join the third (the third estate held the majority of the population). During the Women’s March, he was swayed by the people to distribute bread and move back to Paris. At first, he supported the revolution in order to make many of his people happy so that he would be a likeable king. But when the reforms became very radical, he decided to flee France. If he had actually truly supported the revolution, he wouldn’t have attempted to leave. Also, if he had been more decisive and not so worried about pleasing everyone, I think he would’ve worked to revoke some of the radical laws that were being passed or prevent further reforms. This was interesting to think about, great post!

  7. crissy says:

    I strongly agree that it was entirely his fault for Frances crisis. This is because he is an absolute monarch therefore he his only answerable to God. When the different reforms were introduced by the finance ministers he had the vito power where he could override the query’s of the parliament. His early succession to the throne is no excuse because he must have had advisers or even the fact of being around his father would give him an idea of what measures were needed to maintain and bring prosperity to the country and its people.

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