The French Revolution: Downfall of Louis

Essay by cdaw November 2007

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The French Revolution was the start of King Louis XVI's downfall, overthrowing the absolute monarchy of France. Ascending to the throne of King of France at the age of 20 in 1794, he wasn't concerned about the society and the government instead he had spend most of his time on eating, drinking and hunting.

At the start Louis and his wife Marie-Antoinette were quite popular but later they were despised because of the way they were abusing to spend money for their own luxuries instead of applying on the government and people. In the end Louis XVI has turned from an absolute monarch to a constitutional monarch, and at January 1793 he was executed. Even though Louis was not able to rule his country well and in the end lead to his downfall, we could only say that Louis was partly responsible for his downfall because behind there are much more reasons of political, economical, social and intellectual reasons of long and short term causes.

Even before Louis XVI had ascended to the throne, the government of France had already had a big financial situation and after Louis XVI had ascended the throne, his chief financial officer Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (1727-1781) who tried to help reform France's financial situation. The reforms included replacing the corvée (work tax) with a tax which targeted the landowners, and also cut in monarchial expenses but these reforms were protested from the parlements made by the nobility who of course would have to pay the tax. Turgot was dismissed after this, and yet others had attempted make other reforms but failure had followed after them. France was indebt from extravagant expenditures on the Versailles and also the wars against Britain. By 1786, Louis was bankrupt and hadn't the ability to borrow anymore money...