LOUIS XVI of FRANCE
(23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793).
Bourbon monarch who ruled as 'King of France and Navarre' until 1791,
then as 'King of the French' from 1791 to 1792, before being executed in 1793.
Marble bust of Louis XVI de France, executed by Louis-Simon Boizot, 1777, at Antichambre du Petit Trianon.
The only monarch to have openly assisted the
American War for Independence
.
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Most narrative histories of this monarach's tragic story fail to adequately account that Louis XVI actively supported the Americans in their war for Independence from Great Britain, which was realized in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. To some extent, France's involvement in the war may have contributed to the French Revolution, which abolished the absolute monarchy in France and proclaimed a constitutional monarchy in 1791.
While Louis XVI, as a constitutional king, for a time enjoyed considerable popularity among his subjects, his indecisiveness and conservatism led some elements of the people of France to eventually view him as a symbol of the perceived tyranny of the Ancien Régime and his popularity deteriorated progressively. His disastrous flight to Varennes seemed to justify the rumors that the king tied his hopes of political salvation to the dubious prospects of foreign invasion. The credibility of the king was deeply undermined and the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic became an ever increasing possibility.
Suspended and arrested as part of the insurrection of 10 August 1792, he was tried by the National Convention, found guilty of high treason, and executed by guillotine on 21 January 1793 as a desacralized French citizen known as "Citoyen Louis Capet", a nickname in reference to Hugh Capet, the founder of the Capetian dynasty – which the revolutionaries interpreted as Louis' family name. In the meantime, the French Republic had been proclaimed the 22 September 1792, bringing to an end more than a thousand years of continuous French monarchy. Louis XVI is the only King of France ever to be executed.

"Louis XVI we are here!"

A statement attributed to American Ambassador Walter Curley, at the 21 January 1993, bicentennial of this French monarach's execution at the Place de la Concorde, Paris. For the full reported account, go to "The Baltimore Sun" website at: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1993-01-22/news/1993022171_1_louis-xvi-la-concorde-place-de-la

   The expression was reportedly made by the U.S. Ambassador, Walter J. P. Curley, as he laid a wreath in the Place de la Concorde during the 1993 bicentennial ceremonies commemorating this much maligned monarch execution. Ambassador Curley explained his presence and remarks the following day: "I was there because Louis was very instrumental in our independence," However, the full press account aludes to the rather convoluted and cronterversial story of Louis XVI.


Photograph of the monuments of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette at Saint-Denis by Eric Pouhier.
The bodies of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette now rest in the
Basilica of Saint-Denis, under the funeral monuments shown above.
The corpses of King Louis XVI and his Queen of France, for a time rested in the former graveyard of La Madeleine, which has since become a private garden. A beautiful little Chapelle Expiatoire has been built on the location of the former La Madeleine graveyard, in what is now "Square Louis XVI". The royal remains were removed with honors to the Basilica of Saint-Denis, the resting place of the Kings and Queens of France for twelve centuries. Read more at http://blog.catherinedelors.com/la-chapelle-expiatoire-and-marie-antoinettes-smile

*** FURTHER SUGGESTIONS: ***


Louis and Antoinette. Author: Vincent Cronin.
Published 1975 by William Morrow, New York (first published January 1st 1974).
"In Search of a 'Just and Lasting Peace': The Treaty of 1783, Louis XVI, Vergennes, and the Regeneration of the Realm," by Dr. Robert Crout.
In International History Review , 5 (1983): 364-98.
Louis XVI and the comte de Vergennes : correspondence 1774-1787. Editors: John Hardman and Munro Price.
Publisher: Oxford : Voltaire Foundation, 1998. SEE Muse Project review at: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ecs/summary/v035/35.1kates.html

"LOUIS XVI of FRANCE: The king who brought about the birth of a republic
How is he represented in civic statuary in France and in the USA ?"

A short survey at: http://xenophongroup.com/mcjoynt/LouisXVIth.htm

"The Greatness of King Louis XVI "
http://madmonarchist.blogspot.com/2012/01/greatness-of-king-louis-xvi.html

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Page initiated 15 October 2013, revised 12 May 2014.