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To what extent was Louis XVI responsible for the outbreak of the French Revolution?

What is the focus of the question? (see Dylan Rees, Summary Diagram: Short-term causes of the French Revolution)


To what extent means the answer must NOT focus solely on Louis XVI

A. A number of factors predating the reign of Louis XVI contributed to the outbreak of the French Revolution: * the cost of all the “Louis wars”
* the subsequent loss of empire status in North America and Asia * imbalance between population growth and food supply = 30% poverty * the disastrous economy and bad harvests
* the social disparity among the three estates and the opposition of the nobility to change * philosophe ideas of societal change and toleration

Louis XVI was greatly responsible for the outbreak of the French Revolution: his unsuitable personality for ruling, ignorance of financial matters, and inability to reconcile the concerns of the Estates General were important factors that contributed to the outbreak of the French Revolution

B.i)Identify Louis XVI, king of France 1774-92, executed in 1793
ii)Louis’ responsibilities:

* Louis’ personality unsuitable for ruling: he did not direct events; events drove him * just wanted to be loved by his people
* belief in divine right of kings, Absolutism challenged by philosophes * sedentary...never left Versailles...he loved eating and hunting...had no idea about how average French people lived * lacked confidence; was indecisive (with financial reformers and reforms, wavering during the Estates General) * he was considered impotent and extravagant; his wife Marie-Antoinette promiscuous and extravagant (sumptuous diamond necklace), and was Austrian, France’s traditional enemy * dismissed the Maupeou parlements and recalled the old parlements which defended the privileged (some historians argue that from this time forward revolution...
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