Sunday, January 21, 2007

Louis XVI and the French Revolution

In looking over my post on the creation of the German Empire a few days back, (18 January), I realized that today was the anniversary, in 1793, of the execution of King Louis XVI by the revolutionary mob in Paris. Louis XVI was a terrible king, but he did nothing meriting execution. Americans in particular have reason to remember him fondly, as he saw to it that France aided the American rebels in the War of Independence. (1775-1783).
Being interested in history, and having opinions on it, I confess to serious ambivalence about the French Revolution. Although I am a great admirer of Napoléon I, one of the Revolution's primary beneficiaries, in general; and think the Old Regime made poor use of a whole nation of talented people, I do not sympathize with the Révolution Française, much, especially after it turned radical. Too bad it couldn't have been stopped cold in about 1791 (after the Bastille had fallen, and the king made to accept a constitution, but before the end of the monarchy and the reign of terror). After that, the best thing about the French Revolution was Napoléon's ending it.

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