Ludwig XVI. (France)

Ludwig XVI. (France)

Ludwig XVI. (* 23. August 1754 in Versailles; † 21. January 1793 in Paris) was king of France and Navarra from 1774 to 1792 and/or. 1793. He was a last French representative of the absolutism and becamefinally a victim of the French revolution.

Table of contents

youth time

to 23. August 1754 became Ludwig as a third sonthe Dauphins Ludwig Ferdinand (1729 - 1765), the only son of king Ludwig XV., and the crowning princess Maria Josepha of Saxonia born.

It buildup itself in a nearly civil seeming family, in that the pair of princes personally around the children and of themEducation cared. But the child, silent, suffered mürrisch, not very beautifully and charmingly as a “unloved prince” from the neglect opposite the oldest one and the younger brothers. When the oldest one died 1761, he - that was made during the illness its brother the “flogging boy”, moved thatcontinuously the bright model older brother was reproached and the feeling of the own inferiority was inoculated - with 6 years to the successor to the throne after the next after its father on (not to the joy of its parents).

As its father to 20. December 1765 died, became Ludwig with 11 yearsas Dauphin second man of France. It proved itself as an industrious, reasonable and persistent pupil with “a versatile intelligence”.

To 16. May 1770 became after demands of the Minister Choiseul of the 15-jährige Crown Prince - to strengthening French - of österreicherischen alliance - with one year the younger, the youngest daughter of empress Maria Theresia and emperor Franz I. marries Austrian princess Marie Antoinette..

Marie Antoinette amused itself on celebrations and in the yard company and surrounded themselves with young people. Ludwig prepared between 1770 and 1774 for his task as a ruler andby his grandfather, to whom it before had a rather bad relationship, into affairs of state one introduced.

to family

the four children Marie Therese Charlotte came of


to 10. May 1774king Ludwig XV died. Ludwig XVI. became with twenty years king. Its rule time re-clamps eighteen turbulent, eventful years, in which he was the determining personality. It was one epoch, those the höfischen splendor of the absolutism frönte and at the same time revolutionary ideas of the clearing-up in itselfcarried.

Ludwig regarded itself as a “father of his subjects”. The theory after united it as a “absolute” monarch the executive, legislation and judikative force in a person, in practice political power was exercised however in far parts by its governments, to that among other things thoseMinisters Turgot, mark-harsh, Necker, Vergennes, Calonne and Maurepas belonged.

One of the Hauptprobleme of France was the high indebtedness of the state (among other things because of the ausufernden yard attitude and operations more expensively with regard to foreign policy of the kings since Ludwig XIV.). The national budget also loaded by forFrance successful support of the American colonies in the war of independence against its motherland England; the French Antilleses were protected, it succeeded the revenge for under Ludwig XV. in the seven-year-old war suffered defeat and it came to new trade partners and trade relations.

Dedicated to the problem of the indebtednessitself Ludwig with large reform will. It and its governments tried with economy measures and administrative reforms financing again to regulate.

Ludwig's Minister of Finance Turgot the economy liberalisierte and reformed fiscal matters, encountered thereby however the resistance of the aristocracy starting from 1775. It became 1776 to dismiss, after ithad demanded to reform all public offices. Such a reform was recognized also in principle as correct, but rejected in their Radikalität of the Ministers. Also Turgots successors Necker and Calonne failed with the attempt of a tax revision because of the resistance of the priviligierten conditions. This resistance forced thatKing for the summoning of the general conditions to 5. May 1789, which had not any longer met since 1614.

the revolution

to 17. The delegates of the third conditions explained themselves June as the national assembly. These efforts culminated to 20. June in the ball house oath and finallyto 14. July in the storm on the Bastille. As then to 26. August the people and citizen right were explained, was final the time of the absolutism to end. In an explanation of the 11. September was granted to the king for the resolutions of the national assembly a right of veto.The king made use from his right. The people appeared dissatisfied with the situation. To 5. October pulled a course , organized from the revolutionaries, aforementioned by Paris Marktfrauen, after Versailles, which caused the king, to 6. October with its family to Paris into those To move Tuilerien.

Ludwig was much likes and at first the social, political and economic reforms of the Revoltion opposite unlocked. Into this time the illness and the death of its oldest son Louis Joseph finally fell († 4. June 1789). Since Ludwig did not communicate itself, its becameProviding and mourning for lack of interest and inability laid out for affairs of state.

The people sovereignty demanded in the revolution was a clear break with the then valid principles of the monarchy. Accordingly the revolution was rejected by the dominant elite of France and the remaining European rulers.

Around the chaosand the anarchy, which prevailed in the country, gentleman to become, Ludwig took up also contact to his royal cousins to completely Europe. When the pressure continued to increase on it and its family, it finally consented their requests to flee from radical Paris.It hoped to be able to give from the distance of the revolution a more moderate idiom.

The escape attempt to 20. June 1791 failed, to 21. June was arrested the king in Varennes (Lorraine) and returned as a prisoner to Paris. As in September the French conditioninto force, France stepped a constitutional monarchy had become final.

death sentence and execution

execution Ludwig of the XVI. (Copper pass from the year 1793)

to 10. The Sansculotten the Tuilerien conquered and set August 1792 the king imprisoned. Robespierre saw in the presence of theKing a danger for the revolution. From fear of the countering revolution and the fact that itself most Frenchmen still the love for Ludwig XVI. retained, had to be eliminated he. This became, in order to protect the appearance of the legality, by one „process “forwardsthe national convention reaches, whereby Robespierre was plaintiff and a judge. To 17. January 1793 was expressed there with limited majority the death sentence against the former king. The tuning took place in particular. The delegates were not free in their decision. The intimidations and the Geheul ofthe Jakobinern and trailers Robespierres instigated quantity, which besieged the convention, left to them no liberty. The judgement became to 21. January 1793 on that Paris Place de la Concorde by the Guillotine publicly carried out. To 16. October is beheaded also Marie Antoinette.

LudwigXVI. in the mirror of the historians

conventional Ludwig XVI becomes. frequently as a victim of the circumstances instead of as absolute rulers like its predecessors Ludwig XIV. and Ludwig XV. seen. It was probably not particularly intelligent weakly, unable and, and it has its time rather alsoScatters, like e.g. the hunt spent to care as itself for Regierungsgeschäfte.

There are also historians, e.g. Bernhard Fay and Vincent Cronin, the one other picture of Ludwig XVI. draw. They implement in your biographies that rarely a shape of world history already tooLifetimes so much of the malice and slandering to the victim fallen and like that misjudged is later like Ludwig XVI. He never found friends with the mass of the scholars and indifferent ones; because a king without dear shanks, plots and scandals does not provoke imagination. It exciteseven dislike, because it are unpleasant to evoke the picture of a honest man who was killed in an unfair way. These historians represent the view that itself Ludwig XVI. with personal courage to its tasks dedicated and in a morally corrupt society an exemplary Christian life led, which was fulfilledof work, deep Religiosität and honest Frömmigkeit. He loved it to hunt for relaxation to work relating to crafts preferentially at lock-making out-raving itself and at it. Ludwig XVI. contrary to his Mrs. Marie Antoinette is charakterfest, courageous and with the people very popular been. It stoodon the page Choiseuls, a avowed opponent of Ludwig. It did not succeed to it to become generally accepted in affairs of the crowning business against Ludwig.

Ludwig's problem was the unpopularity with yard. The aristocracy had not followed it, although it had more highly lifted of France reputation in Europe than any itsAncestor. It took badly it that it did not waste fade radix complements on the most outstanding Höflinge that it did not spend the money” royally “like its brothers and its wife that handling the small and simple people pleased it and that it the state secrets forkept itself.


Ludwig one dethroned because of his crimes; Ludwig complained the French people as rebelliously on; it called for its Mitbrüder, the weapons of the Tyrannen, in order to punish it; the victory and the people decided that alone it rebelliouslywas; Ludwig cannot be arranged thus no more, he is already arranged. It is condemned, or the republic is not acquitted. (Robespierre, over the process against the king)

hearing you which history to its fame says: Ludwig mounted the throne with twenty years;with twenty years it gave an example of the customs on the throne; it did not bring still perishable passion on the throne culpable weakness also; it was economically, fair and strict and proved themselves as a steady friend of the people….; the desires of the people he cameby countless personal victims against. And nevertheless, in the name of this same people one demands today…! Citizen, I terminates the sentence not…! I make stop before history. Remember, which will be your judgement and which the seinige in the centuries!(De Seze, LudwigsDefender during the process against the king, 12. March 1792)

While perhaps I speak to the last mark to you, I explain to you the fact that my conscience does not accuse anything to me and that my defenders only the truth to you said. I was never afraid that my guidance publiclyone examined, but it tears the heart to me up to find in the indictment the accusation I would have wanted to pour the blood of the people, and particularly, the misfortune 10. August is to be attributed to me. I admit that the multiples proofs, which I at any time for my loveto save to the people given and the kind, in which I always behaved, me to prove to seem that I was afraid few of out-adding me to a danger in order the people blood, and that a such accusation would have to always keep this away from me.(LudwigXVI. before court)

you are now convinced of the fact that my death was already, before I had been at all heard a decided thing? (As Ludwig left the hall)


  • Cronin, Vincent, Ludwig XVI. and Marie Antoinette - a biography, Claassen (Duesseldorf), 1974.
  • Fay, Berne pool of broadcasting corporations, Ludwig XVI. - The fall of the French monarchy, William Heyne (Munich), 1989
  • Lever, Evelyne, Ludwig XVI., Klett Cotta (Stuttgart), 1988
Commons: Ludwig XVI. - Pictures, videos and/or audio files

Ludwig XV.
List of the rulers of France successor
(intermediate Republic of)

Napoleon I.


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