King Louis was his own enemy!

To what extent was King Louis XVI partially responsible for his own downfall?

2nd March 2004

Some say that the French revolution was caused by King Louis XVI being too young and inexperienced to rule a country, while others feel that it was the fault of both the kings of the revolution (Louis XIV and Louis XVI). I believe that both these relevant points are true to a certain extent.

In 1774 at the mere age of twenty, King Louis XVI came into power. When Louis was empowered there were many problems that France was already suffering. Bankruptcy was a huge problem in France, the amount of money that King Louis XIV had borrowed was enormous, and the national debt was very high. This problem along with the problem of different classes which caused inequality among the people was the reason that an upset began in France. So as Louis XVI accepted France there were already problems of bankruptcy, inequality and anger against government.

When Louis XVI came into power, he realized that these problems existed. He established a good start when he became king as he reorganized parliament, dismissing certain councilors which had caused anger amongst the French people. He then assigned Turgot as his finance minister, Turgot tried to ease the financial crisis of France, but he had difficulties when trying to introduce a major reform, that of taxing the nobles. After the Parliament (whom were the nobles of the robe) rejected Turgotís new tax laws, the king dismissed Turgot from his office. Louis also stopped torture as way of statement and further amazed the French society by reorganizing the prison systems. These small changes made all the difference as Louis was beginning to gain a certain faith among the people.

Louis next appointed Jacques Necker as his finance minister, the king supported Neckerís reforms and economic beliefs, but Necker, even though fought for the better reform of gaining greater control over policy by courting public opinion, still caused the country to go further into debt, as he borrowed more money. Neckerís policy for public opinion was dismissed in court.

Louisís success as a king was starting to slowly fade, as there was so much disruption in government, and the economic conditions of the country were becoming worse. The people of France began to lose there so called faith in the king, because of the absurd ways of government. The ridiculous ways of tax collection, the unequal tax distribution, and the poor 1787 and 1788 harvests also contributed to this large debt and the loss of the French Huguenots as well as the total discount or interest of the countryís well-being, and the fact that the royalty could take the countryís money for personal pleasures. The Third Estate was paying far more in taxes than actually went to the government. What\'s worse is that the finances of the country were not centralized. Louis was forced to interfere with the Estates General to try and solve the financial crisis.

The King was slowly put surely starting to lose the reins of power as he found himself taking advice from others and unable to make decisions for himself. This was one of Louisís greatest faults as when this advice was good, everything was fine; but later when the advice was bad, it cost the king his life. During the Meeting of states general Louisís procrastinated to make decisions toward the economic problems, the Third estate, who was the largest, and most determined to fight for the right of public opinion, proclaimed themselves to be a national assembly, thus signalling the end of absolutism in France, and the beginning the revolution.

Immediately after the National Assembly secretly began working on a constitution, the peasants and workers expected relief from taxes and other dues that they paid. Little happened, and they still faced their same problems of unemployment and price increases. Then there were reports that Louis XVI was bringing troops to Paris. This increased the peoples fears, and anger toward the King.

All this anger and hatred toward the king was building up rapidly, the parliament was starting to doubt the kingsí ability to run a successful government system without lieís and distrust. The parliament began to take every opportunity to get in the way of