King Louis Xvi Was the Most Influential Personality of the Reign of Terror

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The French Revolution is arguably the most important event in Western history. It has been said that ‘Never was any such event so inevitable yet so completely unforseen’.” The events prior and during the French Revolution eventuated in the execution of the king and effectively the end of the monarchy as well as radical changes to the French hierarchy and society. Some may reason that King Louis XVI was in fact the most influential personality of the French Revolution. However Louis and his incompetence as a leader was merely the catalyst of the revolution and evidently the Reign of Terror which followed. Louis XVI, the final Bourbon king, and absolute monarch of France reigned from 1765 to 1793, during a time of great discontent in his country. The decision of his forefathers impacted greatly upon the rule of Louis XVI and the opinion of the lower classes. Evidently the people of France revolted against the monarchy which had ruled for over a thousand years and created the French Republic. With the revolution came great cultural, social, political and historical changes; a new national government was developed which stressed the importance of equality and Madame Guillotine was introduced to ensure justice. The revolution also saw a great shift in the hierarchal structure of France; people of the Third Estate, the French commoners and peasants were now highly influential in political decisions. Maximilien Robespierre arose from this Third Estate and effectively became the leader of the Revolution. Robespierre’s influence subsequently has become synonymous with the Reign of Terror and can be seen as the significant influence of French societal change during 1792 to 1795. King Louis XVI ascended the throne in 1774 to a country on the brink of chaos; enlightenment ideals were undermining the authority of the monarchy and the large debts France had sustained as well as the power of the first two estates made it practically impossible for Louis to create any...
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