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 Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?) 
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Post Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
There have been several causes as to why The General Estates in 1789 became catastrophic. The death of his son left him distraught and he had to choose the country or mourning. He chose mourning. What else made the meeting fail?

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Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:15 pm
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
Actually, the King had to forsake mourning to deal with the crisis. For a careful breakdown of the events, I would recommend Simon Schama's "Citizens."

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Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:28 pm
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
That is what I was under the impression of. However Cronin suggested that Louis XVI did indeed mourn.

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Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:49 pm
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
Hellou_Librorum wrote:
That is what I was under the impression of. However Cronin suggested that Louis XVI did indeed mourn.


Well, yes, of course he was grief-stricken. But he and Antoinette were hardly given time to focus on mourning at Meudon. They had only a week or so and then Louis had to deal with the deputies. Recall how he asked them: "Are there no fathers among you?" He never really got over Joseph's death.......

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Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:04 pm
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
That is too sad. If only the assembly budged a little bit.

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Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:08 pm
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
The souring of the Estates General didn't have much to do with Louis XVI personally, as I certainly wouldn't hold him personally responsible for the inability to restructure the Estates General. He didn't help it much, but he wasn't the big problem. The main issue was that the First and Second Estates wanted to meet separately and vote by order instead of head, whereas the Third Estate wanted to meet jointly as a "National Assembly" and vote by head. Until this happened, they refused to go along with the established format of the Estates General (eventually resulting in the Tennis Court Oath). The Estates started unraveling when the lower members of the clergy left their Estate to go join the Third Estate in creating a National Assembly. So then comes Louis XVI's role, when he makes the speech after the Tennis Court Oath basically demanding everyone go back to how it was supposed to be. This is commonly cited by historians as one of the moments where his hesitation and lack of force as a monarch undermined his authority (the thought being that if he had been a little more proactive, accepted the revised structure of the Estates as a National Assembly, then he could have both been a popular hero and put himself back in control of events). Of course, he was ignored (this was the moment of Mirabeau's famous "They can only remove us by force of bayonets" moment) and the stalemate went on until July 14.

Like I said, I certainly wouldn't blame Louis XVI for the recalcitrance of the nobility and the upper clergy. However, he definitely lost the moment by refusing to accept the changes that could potentially have kept the situation under control.


Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:48 pm
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
I didn't mean to blame him, I meant to ask what he did and what the National Assembly to have The General Estates turn out to be a disaster.

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Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:34 pm
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
I didn't think you were blaming him? You were just asking a question about it. I was trying to provide an answer.


Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:44 am
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
Ok. Thank you for the clarification. And thank you for the answer. I think the assembly/estates were being unreasonable.

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Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:04 pm
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
Being unreasonable about what? Voting by head instead of by order?


Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:45 pm
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
Unreasonable as in as a whole they couldn't decide in which way they should form to vote.

*edit*

Perhaps a better term would be unwilling to comply or compromise.

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Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:13 pm
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
I'm confused why that is exactly unreasonable. The rules were written to establish a vote by order, which Louis XVI upheld, but it's hard to argue in favor of a system that grants double the voting power to 3% of the population over 97% of the population. But for that matter, it's not as though the nobility and the upper clergy were going to easily give that up. The conflict was inevitable.


Sun Oct 05, 2008 12:32 am
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
I suspect that what Hellou meant by unreasonable is the Third Estate was well aware of the established rules and yet they refused to obey them. As you point out, because it was to their disadvantage to do so. But it was impossible for Louis to side with them without betraying his own principles.

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Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:03 am
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
I agree with you that it was against Louis XVI's principles to support the changes, but this brings us back to the question of whether successful reform could have occurred in France without the Revolution. The method of voting illustrated one of the fundamental problems of the ancien régime in conflict with an increasingly modern society. If Louis XVI had been willing to support some of these early changes, the Revolution as it happened probably would have been avoidable.


Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:14 am
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Post Re: Louis and The General Estates (What went wrong?)
What do you mean? Louis supported many changes. In 1774 Louis XVI placed Turgot in charge of finances and introduced free circulation of grain. Founded School of Medicine in Paris. In 1775 droits d'octroi were reduced, prison reform begun, and the death penalty for deserters was abolished. In 1776 the king signed the six edicts of Turgot comprising the abolition of the corvee. The parlements resisted the edicts, preventing them from becoming law. In the same year he reduced his household. In 1778 more taxes reduced. In 1779 the king abolished servitude and other reforms were made. In 1780 further reductions in the Royal household were made, hospital reform was begun, prison reform continued, most torture was abolished. In 1784 relief was given to Jews. In 1786 more hospital reform, aid to the deaf, and provisions made for lost children. In 1787 steps were taken towards the total abolition of the corvee, more reductions in royal household, civil rights accorded to Jews and Protestants. In 1788 all forms of torture were abolished, greater freedom given to press, steps towards abolition of lettres de cachet.

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Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:29 pm
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