Ch. 17: Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and the Guillotine

by Lori ~ February 4th, 2010. Filed under: Chapter 17: Rebellion and Revolution: American Independence and the French Revolution, Uncategorized.

During the late 18th century, Paris was experiencing a great political uprising commonly known as The French Revolution.  France, perhaps the richest nation of the time, was slowly finding itself in huge amounts of debt thanks to the reigning King, Louis XVI.  Louis’ need for luxurious things ( Palace of Versailles ring a bell?)added more debt to what already existed from the aid being sent to America and the French and Indian War.  The economic difficulties and lack recognition of the poor from the royal family (recall the Marie Antionette’s famous line: “Let them eat Cake!”) along with very little freedom, led to the revolt of the bourgeoisie, or working class, shouldering the Nation’s ever-growing monetary problems.  Because of this uprising the Royal family, who were no longer safe in Paris, tried to flee the city as commoners.  They were, of course, caught and executed via the guillotine on the grounds of treason.  Louis XVI was beheaded after trail and conviction on January 21, 1793 and his wife, Marie Antoinette followed him on in October.

The following clips depict the Marie Antoinette as her reign as Queen is coming to an end.  The first one is from the Blockbuster movie Marie Antoinette staring Kirsten Dunst, depicts the royal family as they are planning to flee France after the Storming of the Bastille.  The second one, from the movie The Affair of the Necklace, shows the execution of the indifferent queen.

1 Response to Ch. 17: Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and the Guillotine

  1. alexculbreth

    Before the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the storming of the Bastille was an important event at the beginning of the French Revolution. Angry over the debt incurred from the nobility and over Louis XVI’s treatment of the National Assembly, a large mob of French citizens attacked the prison on July 14, 1789. Though only a few defenders were killed and a few prisoners freed, the attack on the Bastille served as an important event signifying the end of the French citizens’ tolerance of the monarchy. Let them eat cake, indeed!