Why Was Louis XVI Executed?
History was not so kind to King Louis XVI. He was judged as ineffective, controlled, unintelligent leader. His indecisive behavior also became one of the reasons why he was very unpopular with the people. But judging him during his reign was very difficult, for the Revolution was itself a very complicated matter.
King Louis couldn’t have arrived to power in a worse time and place than when he was crowned in 1774. His lavish ancestors Louis XIV and XV left him a near-bankrupt France where taxes were collected in a much disorganized manner and the country was in a very difficult financial crisis. As things got worse and worse, with almost half of the population unemployed, failing of crops and soaring of food prices, he decided to marry Miss Marie Antoinette, a lovely Austrian lady. Ironically, this fueled the people’s anger. It was met with hostility because they blamed her for the misfortune of their country.
At first, the king was geared towards solving the country’s problems and work in the revolution, but the influence of his wife proved to be stronger. He was convinced to set aside his commitments to the people and seek refuge in Austria to gain aid for the revolution.
Four years later, in the shift of power, the French crowd forced Louis to restore the Estates-General. This restrained all his powers which now enabled the people to think that they can control the empire. The assembly then tackled to decide whether to allow France to remain a monarchy or not. Louis, together with his family, was forcibly imprisoned and then brought to the court to face charges for committing crimes against his people and for conniving with foreigner to invade France.
After the trial, he was proven to be guilty and was sentenced to death by execution. Marie Antoinette was also sentenced to death and was executed by Guillotine on the same year. This then opened the eyes of the French about the revolution.