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ii. Characters of the King and Queen

The rule of Louis XVI was corrupt, disorganized and autocratic. There was universal discontent due to his evil deeds. The monarch was a coward, weak and lethargic by temperament. Louis XVI was a puppet in the hands of his queen. Therefore he could not affect any reforms by removing the disgraceful organizations of the time. Consequently the fire of revolution went on smoldering. Had the monarch been able, experienced and farsighted he would have easily been successful in converting the autocratic rule into a constitutional monarchy. Instead of doing so he went ahead with all his ridiculous idiosyncrasies which totally alienated him from the sympathies of the commoners. People grew hostile towards him. According to the great historian, Wolseley Haig, the bloodshed in France and the great conflagration called Revolution was due to the ugly deeds of Louis XVI.

According to the historian Robertson, "Louis was one of the last kingly figures who ever wore a crown and was slow-witted, sleepy, self-indulgent and with no interest but hunting, shooting, and the theater."

Marie Antoniette and her vast influence over her husband proved disastrous for her husband and France. The queen Antoniette, the royal spouse of Louis XVI was the daughter of Maria Theresa, the famous queen of Austria, and the sister of King Joseph II of Austria. She was awfully pretty and luxury loving. She dominated the monarch so much that she could make him agree to do whatever she fancied, whether just or unjust. She interfered in the State’s affairs and the government administration. She did not restrain herself from squandering money even after visualizing the economic decline of France. The commoners hated her and called her ugly names dragging her honor into mire.

Grant, another historian writes of her thus - "His wife, Maria Antoinette was an Austrian princess, the daughter of Maria Theresa, a kind-hearted, brilliant and really beautiful woman. Her Austrian origin was a disaster both to herself and to her husband. It made her unpopular in the country when France again came into antagonism with Austria (during the Revolution she was constantly denounced as the Austrian woman)."

iii. Powers of the Courts

The Assembly was a group of individuals who formulated the laws in different parts of the country. The laws of the land were also freakish, and they differed from place to place. Before the laws could be enforced they were altered. There were about seventeen courts of law in France at that time, but there was hardly a book on law available in that age. There was a register of laws in the law courts, and the laws given in them had been legislated by the sole will of the crown. What was applicable at one place was not applicable at another. The judges gave their verdicts but these were hardly executed.


3.0 - Introduction
3.1 The Seven Years' War
3.2 Catherine the Great
3.3 The Industrial Revolution
3.4 The French Revolution
3.5 France as a Republic (1795 - 1799)
3.6 Napolean Bonaparte
3.7 Points to Remember

Chapter 4

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