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Noble
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Post Re: Why
Therese, I don't think that MA was unaware of politics. Being both the daughter and the wife of a ruler, she must have known some things. I think that I was unclear before. From everything I have read, MA did not show any inclination towards participating in politics during her youth, continuing into her womanhood.

A great deal of this probably had to do with her mother--Maria Theresa was a magnificent ruler and politician in her own right, but she counseled all of her many daughters to be meek and submissive wives. As history has shown, few of them followed this advice, but in Marie Antoinette's case, her lack of meekness seemed to manifest as a great relish for enjoying life and having fun, as opposed to a desire for political power or gain. Being the daughter of such a strong woman may also have had the interesting effect of giving MA the attitude that her participation as a ruler was unnecessary--as a daughter, she was able to let Maria Theresa do all the work, and as a wife, she expected that Louis XVI would handle ruling, being as he was, after all, the ruler of France, and she merely his consort. In my own life, my mother and husband are both computer programmers, so I barely know enough to figure out how to post on a message board. :biggrin: Certainly not the same, but you can see the parallel.

I am sure that Marie Antoinette had an interest in political events; I just don't think it ever occurred to her that she could or should involve herself in them until she was already doomed.


Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:55 pm
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Post Re: Why
Rosieface wrote:
Therese, I don't think that MA was unaware of politics. Being both the daughter and the wife of a ruler, she must have known some things. I think that I was unclear before. From everything I have read, MA did not show any inclination towards participating in politics during her youth, continuing into her womanhood.

A great deal of this probably had to do with her mother--Maria Theresa was a magnificent ruler and politician in her own right, but she counseled all of her many daughters to be meek and submissive wives. As history has shown, few of them followed this advice, but in Marie Antoinette's case, her lack of meekness seemed to manifest as a great relish for enjoying life and having fun, as opposed to a desire for political power or gain. Being the daughter of such a strong woman may also have had the interesting effect of giving MA the attitude that her participation as a ruler was unnecessary--as a daughter, she was able to let Maria Theresa do all the work, and as a wife, she expected that Louis XVI would handle ruling, being as he was, after all, the ruler of France, and she merely his consort. In my own life, my mother and husband are both computer programmers, so I barely know enough to figure out how to post on a message board. :biggrin: Certainly not the same, but you can see the parallel.

I am sure that Marie Antoinette had an interest in political events; I just don't think it ever occurred to her that she could or should involve herself in them until she was already doomed.


According to author Bernard Fay, Louis XVI deliberately encouraged his Queen not to become involved in politics. Queens of France traditionally stayed out of politics and focused on childbearing. Louis knew that Marie-Antoinette, as an Austrian Archduchess, was pressured by her family to influence him to undertake policies favorable to Austrian interests. He tried to keep her from meddling by isolating her at Petit Trianon, surrounding her by a circle of friends (the Polignacs) who owed everything to himself. (Antonia Fraser also discusses this role of the Polignacs, hand picked by Louis.) It was not until during the Revolution, when Louis was ill and having a nervous breakdown, that he allowed Marie-Antoinette to take an active role.

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Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:10 pm
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Royalty
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Yes, I must agree with Therese. It is extraordinary to suggest that Maria Theresa did not encourage her daughters to push the Austrian alliance in their marriages. I think it would do you good to read some more of the correspondence Therese has provided to show how Marie Antoinette was never antipathetic to politics during her marriage to Louis.

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Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:46 am
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Noble
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Post Re: Why
Maria Theresa obviously intended her daughters to push Habsburg goals in their respective political positions, and made no bones about telling them so. But telling someone to do something and showing them how to do it are two different things. Throughout MA's childhood she was taught (not by words, but by her situation) how to let other people take care of things for her. It was a sort of learned helplessness on her part. That was the main reason that Maria Theresa was so frustrated with MA when she went to the French court.


Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:29 am
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Post Re: Why
Rosieface wrote:
Maria Theresa obviously intended her daughters to push Habsburg goals in their respective political positions, and made no bones about telling them so. But telling someone to do something and showing them how to do it are two different things. Throughout MA's childhood she was taught (not by words, but by her situation) how to let other people take care of things for her. It was a sort of learned helplessness on her part. That was the main reason that Maria Theresa was so frustrated with MA when she went to the French court.


From reading the letters she wrote to her daughter, I would venture to say that the Empress' main "frustration" so to say was the length of time it took for Louis and Antoinette to beget a child who would seal the Alliance.

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Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:56 am
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Post Re: Why
Indeed, Therese. This was the major concern and threat to the Alliance.

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Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:10 am
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Post Re: Why
Thanks, Therese! I know what you mean and thanks for adding that book as well. So much good stuff out there!


Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:23 pm
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