When The King Took Flight Essay

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Sunny Duong HIST 426 10/17/12 When the King Took Flight In June 1791, King Louis XVI and his family snuck out of Paris during the night, hoping to escape from the French Revolution and its violence. He planned to escape the country and return with foreign assistance to reclaim control of France, but the people of Varennes stopped and detained him until authorities arrived and sent him back to Paris. Louis’ attempted escape, in addition to the letter he left behind denouncing the Revolution, “profoundly influenced the political and social climate of France” (223). His escape outraged many people and left the administration in shambles, and this caused tensions to break out. To control the situation, the people of France quickly organized…show more content…
In this letter, he disapproved of the reduction of his royal powers and personal wealth, which affected his lifestyle and authority. He denounced the Revolution, National Assembly, and its constitution. Copies of the letter circulated in public and revealed to people that “Louis had lied to the French” when he swore an oath “before God and the nation to uphold the constitution” (102). Not only did he leave behind his people but his flight would have led to a civil war between revolutionaries and loyalists aided by foreigners. On top of that, deputies of the National Assembly dealt with the aftermath of a missing king: paranoid Parisians suspecting a conspiracy, people storming the palace, and palace servants being accused of treason. This added to the “profound sense of desertion and betrayal” by a king that people saw as a “good father” (222). Out of disgust, they denounced Louis: calling him all sorts of names, took down portraits of him, and covered “in black the word royal” on signs, buildings, and other public places (110). The “myth of the kingship had been shattered” because nobody knew what to do with Louis at this time (104, 108). Some wanted exile or imprisonment whereas others suggested reinstating him as only a figurehead, and some thought about a “republic without a king” (108). Either way, they no longer
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