King Louis XVI

King Louis XVI
Julia Osman
Professor of History, Mississippi State University
July 24, 2012

King Louis XVI’s people called him the “Liberating King” for his support of the American Revolution, so how did he end up beheaded at the guillotine? Professor Osman assesses Louis XVI’s conduct during the American and French Revolutions and how he met his downfall. The fortune he spent in support of the American War of Independence in the years preceding the French Revolution caused instability at home and eventually provoked social unrest. During the French Revolution, he was open to some constitutional reform, but he tried to retain his power even as the French Revolution grew more radical. Louis XVI eventually met the ire of the mobs who sought to overturn the establishment and reorder French society.

Part 1 of 6: Why Did a “Liberating King” Meet the Guillotine? (2:02)

Part 2 of 6: Louis XVI in Kingly Context (9:28)

Part 3 of 6: Louis XVI: King of Liberty (6:04)

Part 4 of 6: “Absolute”ly No (9:50)

Part 5 of 6: Going Too Far: The Downfall of Louis XVI and Lafayette (6:25)

Part 6 of 6: What’s in a Revolution? (1:33)


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