Made By: Abby Bour
Table of Contents
Louis XVI was born on August 23, 1754 in Versailles, France. He was born to his mother, Princess Marie-Josephine, and his father, Louis, the Dauphin of France. He was born with the name of Louis-August, Duke of Berry. Louis-August was the oldest of seven children, but was the third son. When his father was 36, he died of Lung Tuberculosis, preventing him from becoming the next king of France. Later his mother died from the same disease, leaving her children as orphans. In May 1770, when Louis was fifteen years old, he married the fourteen year old, Hapsburg Archduchess Maria Antonia (Marie Antoinette) in an arranged marriage. Marie was Louis’ second cousin once removed, but still had some opposition from the French court. Within the first few years of marriage nothing happened between the couple, which drew up gossip by the people. Historians now believe that Louis suffered from a physiological dysfunction, enabling him to have children. Approximately eight years after the couple had been married a child was finally born. After that four other children were born but only one survived. On May 10, 1774, Louis’ grandfather, Louis XV, died crowning Louis XVI as the new king. Louis was twenty years old at that time, and had proven to be immature and irresponsible. He also lacked in self-confidence and was crowned into a time where he faced huge debt. On top of that, France’s military was inefficient and the economy was in turmoil, a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty. One way Louis helped the people was by sending troupes into the Americas where the independence war was underway and helping the independents with their naval victory. But, in France there was a huge crisis with the price of flour and bread. The prices of both kept increasing and many people were outraged. Later, the estate general was called and instead of one vote per estate, each person got one vote. This helped the French Bourgeoisie to speak up against the king’s attempt to decrease their power. During this meeting the representatives of the third estate declared themselves the National Assembly. With this declaration the French Revolution began. Louis agreed to most of the demands of the third assembly hoping that he could remain in power through a constitutional monarchy. But, in 1792, France was declared a republic and Louis lost all claims to his people that he had for the last eighteen years of his rule. Throughout the next few years, Louis and his family were moved from their house in Versailles to the Tuileries Palace in central Paris (October 1789). In June of 1791, he failed to escape to Austria, and was forced under house arrest by the French people. Finally the end came in August of 1792 when the king was suspended and the monarchy ended. Then on January 21, 1793 he was tried and found guilty of treason by the National Convention and was executed by the guillotine.
Maximillien De Robespierre
Maximilien De Robespierre was born on May 6, 1758, in Arras, France. He was the oldest of four children. His mother died when he was six years old and his father left afterwards, leaving him and his siblings orphans. In 1789, Robespierre graduated from Lycée Louis-le-Grand with a law degree. Afterwards, he began to practice law in Arras which earned him enough to live comfortably. Devoted to the social philosopher, he took a public role. He called for change in the monarchy, and helped/defended the poorest of society, earning the nickname of “the incorruptible”. When Robespierre was thirty, he was elected to the estate general of French literature. Once a part of the estates general he became popular with the people, talking about his opposition of the monarchy and thoughts of a democratic reform. Not only did he disagree with the monarchy but he also disliked the idea of the death penalty and slavery. In April of 1789, he was elected president of a Jacobins political faction. During the reign of Louis XVI an estate general was called. During this meeting, the third estate declared themselves the National Assembly, Robespierre was one of these men who helped to write the Declaration of the
Rights of Man and Citizen. In August 1792, Robespierre was elected to lead the new National Convention. Against his previous statement of dislike of the death penalty Robespierre argued for the execution of King Louis XVI. On July 27, 1792, Robespierre was elected to the Committee of Public Safety, formed to help keep people under control. In September, the reign of terror began helping Robespierre to eliminate his rivals and opposition. During this time 300,000 suspected enemies were arrested and more than 17,000 were
executed, most by the guillotine. In 1794, Robespierre ordered for more executions leading the people to question his authority and motives. On July 27, 174, Robespierre and many of his followers were arrested and put into prison. But, he was able to escape thanks to a jailer. He fled to city hall in Paris where he later learned he was declared an outlaw. Upon hearing this news he tried to commit suicide but only managed to severely injure his jaw. Troops from the National Convention later stormed the building and arrested Robespierre and his followers once again. The next day, July 28, 1794, Robespierre and some of his followers were executed by the very thing he used to kill many French people, the guillotine.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica. He was the son of a noble. His father, Carlo Bonaparte was a lawyer, and his wife, Letizia Ramolino. Napoleon was a mother’s boy and disliked his father for giving up his allegiance so easily to the French. In 1784, Napoleon won a scholarship to the elite military training college in Paris. Napoleon didn’t make many friends while he was there. In 1785, at the age of sixteen, he was promoted to second lieutenant in the artillery. In 1793, he was promoted to Brigadier General after leading a victorious attack during the Battle of Toulon. Gradually Napoleon began to invoke interest, especially when in 1795 he brought down a pro-royalist coup in Paris. Also, during this time, the Directory took control and would stay in control until 1799. In 1796 he was promoted to Major General. On March 9, 1796, Napoleon married Josephine Beauharnais, widow of General Alexandre de Beauharnais (guillotined during the reign of terror), and the mother of two children. Napoleon became favored by the directory for his efforts in saving the government from counter-revolutionary forces. He was later named commander of the Army of the interior. Also, he became a trusted advisor of the Directory in military matters. Napoleon was able to turn an army of 30,000 strong and underfed soldiers into a machine that won many victories against the Australians. He helped in expanding the French empire by all his victories.
In 1810, after a childless marriage, Napoleon divorced his wife, Josephine Beauharnais, and married the daughter of the Australian emperor in the hopes of having an heir. After one year, a son was born by the name of Napoleon.
In 1808, the Peninsula War began. This was the start of a five- year defeat for France, decreasing their military resources. After a major defeat in 1802 at the Russian Invasion, Napoleon was exiled to the Mediterranean Island of Elba. After he escaped in March of 1815, he claimed his second reign. But, no sooner did he start it that it ended, when he made the mistake to engage his forces at the Battle of Waterloo. He was then imprisoned by the British on the remote Atlantic Island of St. Helena, where he died in May 5, 1821.