A Little History Nerd Girl Rant to End the Day!
Without choosing any sides, it goes without saying that politics today is very messy to say the least. However that has always been the case in the pursuit of power. Luckily for today’s leaders, the option of losing their heads is no longer an option. Throughout history that wasn’t always the case. That’s why today my history nerd girl will be talking about the death of a particular monarch. This day in 1793, the very day after being convicted of conspiracy with foreign powers and sentenced to death by the French National Convention, King Louis XVI was executed by guillotine in the Place de la Revolution in Paris. Nine months later his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette, was convicted of treason by a tribunal. On October 16 of the same year she too had her day to be shared intimately with a razor-sharp guillotine.
But today I’ll be sticking to Louis’ head and his eventual lack thereof. Sorry I had to say it. Anywho, when he became king in 1774 the severe financial woes weren’t generated during his tenure. It was actually his grandfather, King Louis XV that racked up the bill. Many are under the impression that it was his grandfather’s over spending on the “good life”, which he did spend a great deal on, that eventually caused his grandson to be executed. However the royal coffers were emptied truly on the many unsuccessful wars that France fought in during King Louis XV’s era. During the reign of his grandfather, two of the largest wars in French history, the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War, took place. His Pop-pop was able to die in his bed with the title of being “The Beloved”, while King Louis XVI would be seen very differently only a mere fifteen years later.
King Louis XVI did his best to fight the overwhelming tide of the French revolution, but there was nothing for it. In October 1789, a mob marched on Versailles and forced the royal couple to move to Tuileries. While the opposition to the royal couple continued to build, it was only a matter of time before they were forced to flee to Austria. However during their trip, Marie and Louis were apprehended at Varennes, France, and carried back to Paris. It was there, Louis was forced to accept the constitution of 1791, which reduced him to a mere figurehead. No pun intended...
In August 1792, the royal couple was arrested by the sans-cullottes and imprisoned. In September the monarchy was abolished by the National Convention. A couple of months later, evidence of Louis XVI’s anti-revolutionary plotting with Austria and other foreign nations was exposed. This information was the cause (or scapegoat) that put him on trial for treason.
It only took the National Convention until January to convict and condemn Louis to death.
Did you know that Louis helped design the death machine (guillotine) that relieved his head from his body? Here’s a cool little video explaining the birth of the most humane form of execution of its day. Happy Thursday everyone and remember to always keep your head about you, figuratively and literally.
*Find the link to the video below!