Historical Figures

Louis XVI

Grandson of Louis XV and last king of the Ancien Régime, Louis XVI was king of France from 1774 to 1791, then king of the French from 1791 to 1792. He married Marie-Antoinette in 1770 who gave him four children. He tried in vain to stem the financial crisis that was submerging the country with the help of his advisers, such as Turgot, Necker, Calonne, or even Loménie de Brienne. At the same time, the support given to the American colonies offered renewed prestige to the kingdom, but further accentuated the crisis.

The king convened the Estates General in 1789 at Versailles. He recalls his position as monarch by divine right and refuses the request for a vote by head instead of a vote by order by the deputies of the third estate. This provoked the Oath of the Jeu de Paume on June 20, 1789 and the constitution of the National Assembly. Having become a constituent on July 9, it gradually reduced the king's power, mainly following his attempt to flee to Varennes on June 20, 1791 and suspicions of conspiracy with foreign countries.

Now limited by the Constitution (1791), Louis XVI became constitutional sovereign and used his veto to curb the Revolution; he loses the confidence of his people. The declaration of war on Austria on April 20, 1792 is not the desired escape. He definitively lost all power on August 10, 1792 during the attack on the Tuileries by the insurrectionary Commune. Imprisoned with his family, he was tried and sentenced to death for high treason. He was guillotined on January 21, 1793.

1754 - 1793



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