French Revolution

Who was to blame for the French Revolution?

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2009-08-07 07:27:30

The revolution was started a long time before Louis XVI and

Marie Antoinette were even born.

It all started with Louis XIV, the great grandfather of Louis

XVI. He had built Versailles and spent millions on staff, causing a

gigantic debt in the treasury. When his successor Louis XV became

King (he was then 5!), he didn't know how to solve all the debt, so

he started raising taxes. Conveniently enough, the clergy and

nobility were cleared from taxes, although they were the richest

people. To make matters worse, Louis XV declared war to several

countries, while there was absolutely no money to pay for it. By

the time Louis XVI succeeded him, France was bankrupt and was

actually declared so in 1789. Louis XVI had desperately tried to

clear the debt, but did not see any other solution to do so then to

raise taxes, even though the French bourgeoisie was starving. He

tried to make the nobility and clergy also pay taxes, but they

became furious at him when they heard of his plans and prohibited

him the execution of these plans. So, this King who so desperately

wanted to solve the financial mess the country was in, found

himself with his back against the wall and did not know what to do.

Everybody wanted it to be solved, but nobody (of the nobility and

clergy) were willing to give up some of their priviliges to do so.

Instead, they blamed everything on Louis XVI and especially his

wife Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette was the ultimate scapegoat.

She was a foreigner, and just any kind of foreigner, but an

Austrian one. Austria had been the country that France had been in

and out of war with for years and years. The Empress Maria Theresia

(mother of Marie Antoinette) thought it was a good idea to marry

off her youngest daughter to the future king of France (Louis XVI)

to secure the new found peace between France and Austria, and so it

happened. The French did not want an Austrian woman on the throne,

and never trusted or liked her from the moment she set foot on

French soil. They had always thought her to be a spy who

transferred French money from the treasury to Austria (which was a

ridiculous rumor).

She could do no good at all, every move she made was criticized

For example: The French condemned her for wearing expensive silk

dresses, so she decided to wear cheaper ones (gaulles), but then

the French condemned her for looking like a peasant and sabotage

the French silk industry because the people working in it lost

their jobs now she had laid off the silk. The French said she was

spendthrift, but the truth is she did not even receive half the

amount of money normally given to French queens because the economy

was bad.

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