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I am not bashing Marie-Antoinette.


Well, you could have fooled me. You sound as if you believe women are only decent if they live in utter seclusion. Why, people are so eager to paint Antoinette as a promiscuous woman that they will take any little innocent tidbit of information and use it to illustrate their disrespectful opinion.
So what if she had loving friendships with men? It only proves that she was warm-hearted, but someone with their mind in the gutter would be unable to see the sweetness and innocence in her friendships. I would argue there is much more evidence of her having romantic love for the Duchesse de Polignac than for any man!

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She went further than any queen before as far as sexual liberty was concerned.


Ludy, what sexual liberty?

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I do not see your point when you bring up Joséphine, as first of all I was talking about royal mistresses. Joséphine was neither royal (her husband being a general and an emperor) nor a mistress, as she was duly married to him. Besides, I was comparing Marie-Antoinette to the previous queens. People were judging Marie Antoinette based on how the previous queens were behaving. Joséphine did not exist at the time.


You've misunderstood my meaning in bringing up Empress Josephine. My point is how differently they are remembered by posterity.

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An extreme example but the first that came to my mind. Just because Josephine spent a lot of money too doesn't make it okay for Antoinette to have done it too, it just means that Josephine is perhaps due for a hostile biography.


Vive, neither should be condemned. My point isn't that it is okay or not okay, just that it is unfair for Antoinette to be considered the very embodiment of extravagance when others are far more guilty of this charge.
Just as it is unfair for Robespierre to be thought of as the very embodiment of revolutionary excess, when others are guilty of crimes far more abominable! (And you have said as much yourself!)
Here is another example, why is the Sun King revered for his extravagant tastes when Marie Antoinette is reviled?
And she did indeed grow out of her youthful love of everything gilded and rococo. Do not forget that she was very modern in her love of nature and her wish to be independent... do not forget her humanity and her faults, but try to sympathize with her very understandable need to escape to the peace and quiet of her (indeed expensive) Hameau.


Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:28 pm
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Madame Vigée-Le Brun wrote:

Vive, neither should be condemned.


I'm not Communist by any means, and I really don't mind when someone wealthy goes on a spending-spree, because, hey, they earned that money. But my perspective towards royalty is different. Since their coiffers were filled by taxes, they're not blowing money that they earned but the money offered up by their subjects. Now, I don't expect monarchy to live in poverty, but I do think offering 800,000 livres to the Comtesse de Polignac's daughter for her marriage portion is too much.

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Just as it is unfair for Robespierre to be thought of as the very embodiment of revolutionary excess, when others are guilty of crimes far more abominable! (And you have said as much yourself!)


...I started to concoct a really intelligent rebuttal to this one but I've decided to refuse.

No. Nope.

Uh-uh.

That's not happening. I'm not bringing Robey into this.

I'm done. Okay. You win that point. :lol:

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Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:35 pm
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Vive wrote:

The obvious inversion of your quote, "If one is not in agreement with an imposed system, even if in this case...then actions against that system cannot be deemed as treachorous." is that treason can only be properly defined as such if you happen to be in agreement with the government you are trying to overthrow. Of course no one is going to betray a government they support. If this is the definition of treason, one could ever be acused of treason ever. Unless we are going to say that treason is non-existent, this definition cannot hold true.

That really is an obvious point. But we are not talking here of a disobedient ordinary citizen, but of the Queen of France and wife of the deposed head of State. So the rules of government you speak of they consider to be the rules of a violent usurping minority. Admittedly Louis XVI starts to see the necessity for a constitution (which MA has some trouble admitting) but he does not recognize the validity of any measure that he is coerced into accepting.

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Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:15 am
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baron de batz wrote:
But we are not talking here of a disobedient ordinary citizen, but of the Queen of France and wife of the deposed head of State.


According to the ideology of royalism, Marie Antoinette was not a disobedient ordinary citizen. But according to the ideology of Republicanism - which obviously dictated the Republican Tribunals - Marie Antoinette was no different than any other citizen who graced their court, regardless of her previously exalted status.

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So the rules of government you speak of they consider to be the rules of a violent usurping minority. Admittedly Louis XVI starts to see the necessity for a constitution (which MA has some trouble admitting) but he does not recognize the validity of any measure that he is coerced into accepting.


I'm aware of Marie Antoinette's perspective. Please remember, I actually am very fond of the queen and I begrudgingly admire her tenacious attempts to save her family and acknowledge that her motives weren't solely motivated by a Machiavellian need for power. But the facts are that, however justified we believe Antoinette to be in her actions, she did try to overturn the Revolution. Obviously the Revolutionary government is going to proscribe such activities, just as a Royalist government would proscribe activities that attempt to overthrow monarchy.

It isn't a black-and-white affair, as you said. Marie Antoinette was acting within the perfect realm of legality from her perspective, but from the perspective of the Revolutionaries she had betrayed France. Unfortunately for Antoinette, it was the perspective of the Revolutionaries that (predictably) triumphed in the Revolutionary Tribunal.

Not that I think that what happened within the halls of the Tribunal were fair. I reiterate my earlier statement that while I do believe Marie Antoinette's execution could have been just, what with her previous actions, it was not just because the Republicans failed to prove their charges.

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Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:25 pm
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Madame Vigée Lebrun -why getting angry ? My point is simply that whilst Marie-Antoinette may have been fundamentally innocent, she took great liberty with regards to her role. Instead of raising hue an cry anytime someone dares to say she may bear some responsibility in her fate, why not, for a second, put yourself in the shoes of the majority of the people, and how they may have interpreted her behaviour ?

I wrote extensively about all your other points in my previous post, including a long Joséphine / MA comparison, and what I mean by sexual liberty.

Baron de Batz - the mores of the aristocracy are not comparable with the ones of the people. Saying that adultery was widely accepted in completely wrong, given that the XVIII century was still extremely religious. It's a bit like saying that just because the jet set people use a lot of drugs, cocaine, acid and other substances are widely accepted today.

Sexual liberty pertained to a scanty minority of people, and even inthe high society, women were expected to get married at a young age, after a childhood spent in a covent, and to be faithful to their husbands. In MA's native Austria, prostitutes were whipped in public, and until recently in France, adultery was a crime. This is what the Dangerous Liaisons are about, to mention a famous example you might know.
Even in the Court of France, there were not only libertins, but a "Parti Dévot", which was very influential.
Believing that Casanova was the norm, when he was on the contrary a free spirit in a highly conservative society, shows a very narrow understanding of the reality of the XVIII century.

Besides, even as far a the libertins were concerned, they were on the wane by the time of Marie-Antoinette, when this type of literature was being replaced by pre-romantism, a movement that praised faithfulness and virtue. Read Paul and Virginie, for instance.

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Last edited by Ludy on Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:18 am, edited 7 times in total.



Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:40 pm
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Vive wrote:
baron de batz wrote:
But we are not talking here of a disobedient ordinary citizen, but of the Queen of France and wife of the deposed head of State.


According to the ideology of royalism, Marie Antoinette was not a disobedient ordinary citizen. But according to the ideology of Republicanism - which obviously dictated the Republican Tribunals - Marie Antoinette was no different than any other citizen who graced their court, regardless of her previously exalted status.
.


I will even disagree with that. The Crown was not distinct to the land (France), so even in that respect Marie-Antoinette was both wrong and foolish, but I have made that point several time.

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Last edited by Ludy on Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:46 pm
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Ludy, God knows I am aware of her faults. Perhaps even more than most of her admirers. Although I love and admire her very much, I recognize that her stubborn refusal to modify her behavior (which I find very charming and respectable) did not endear her to the court or the nation.
But if the French found anything disagreeable in her sweet friendships, it is their own fault, and not Antoinette's, even if the consequences fell upon her. Why, just look at how her innocent little outing to see the sunrise was turned into a drunken orgy by the pamphleteers... ! Why blame Antoinette? Why not hold the disgusting pamphleteers responsible for having their minds in the gutter? She should not have had to live like a church mouse, not when she was so lively and full of energy!

In other words, I can see how the people would have interpreted her behavior, I just don't agree with their interpretation!


Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:45 am
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Madame Vigée-Le Brun wrote:
Ludy, God knows I am aware of her faults. Perhaps even more than most of her admirers. Although I love and admire her very much, I recognize that her stubborn refusal to modify her behavior (which I find very charming and respectable) did not endear her to the court or the nation.
But if the French found anything disagreeable in her sweet friendships, it is their own fault, and not Antoinette's, even if the consequences fell upon her. Why, just look at how her innocent little outing to see the sunrise was turned into a drunken orgy by the pamphleteers... ! Why blame Antoinette? Why not hold the disgusting pamphleteers responsible for having their minds in the gutter? She should not have had to live like a church mouse, not when she was so lively and full of energy!

In other words, I can see how the people would have interpreted her behavior, I just don't agree with their interpretation!


This is a fair point, but highly idealistic. Then and now, we live in a world where the information we rely on is skewed. A lot of things today are blown out of proportion by the media. It is irrealistic to say that people have the time to delve into every single event and check and double check for accuracy. You have to rely to a certain extent on what you infer from hearsay, from the press etc. If anything, MA had plenty of time to reflect on how her behaviour was perceived, to modify it, or at least to inform the population better if she thought they were being deceived.

Besides, once again, I do not think everything she did was inconsequential, given the mores of the time for a queen of France. Gambling was not, especially when she resorted to games that were forbidden in the kingdom, skipping the mass after carousing all night is hardly acceptable for the Queen of a Catholic country, and like it or not, seeing men in her private appartments and exchanging letters with them, especially letters of a certain kind, was already hardly ok for any noble wife let alone for a Queen of France. Once again, not a matter of judging, but that's how things were then.

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Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:45 am
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Ludy wrote:
I will even disagree with that. The Crown was not distinct to the land (France), so even in that respect Marie-Antoinette was both wrong and foolish, but I have made that point several time.


This is not how I've understood it. To quote Michael Walzer's Regicide and Revolution:

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Although the king could not be conceived to commit any crime, treason was peculiarly alien to him, for it was a crime against his own person. According to the basic English law of 1352, treason consisted in compassing the king's death, levying war against him, or adhering to his enemies...In the French ordinances, the pronouns are always first person plural (note personne, nos enfants et posterite) and indicate even more clearly the specifically limited character of the crime of treason...The king, of course, stood for the kingdom...But the crime was usually thought to require an act aimed directly at the king's person (or some member of his immediate family) or construed by the courts to be so aimed...The kingdom cannot be killed, or so it was believed, and its enemies are by definition the king's own enemies. Hence no king can possibly be a traitor, whatever actual harm he does to his subjects or to his kingdom, unless perhaps he harms himself.


I merely quoted him because he is likely the source of any misconceptions I have in regards to treason under a monarchy. Obviously, the man is not infallible and so if there is a flaw in his argument I would be interested to know what would constitute treason under a King. But according to this definition, with the king and the nation being identical, to be loyal to the king would be to be loyal to the true nation - and subsequently, for Antoinette to be loyal to the concept of monarchy and her son's throne, she would not be deemed a traitor under the theory of royalism.

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Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:51 pm
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In that precise case, we are talking about allowing a foreign invasion for the sake of saving the Crown. How can a kingdom be saved while at the same time being under the jackboot of a foreign power ? That does not make sense.

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Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:15 pm
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Ludy wrote:
In that precise case, we are talking about allowing a foreign invasion for the sake of saving the Crown. How can a kingdom be saved while at the same time being under the jackboot of a foreign power ? That does not make sense.


That would be a logical fallacy on Marie Antoinette's part. I was under the impression that her goal was to use the foreign invasion to crumble the Revolution and subsequently reestablish the Monarchy. I don't believe that she solely wanted for France to be conquered - the conquest was just a means to the end of restoration. And that goal of restoration would be loyal to the monarchy.

That conquest wouldn't necessarily lead to restoration is beyond debate, but I reiterate that this is a logical fallacy on Marie Antoinette's part, and not necessarily one that impugns her attempt to adhere to the royalist ideology.

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Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:27 pm
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Well my point is that was obvious. But that's indeed a point of view.

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Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:43 am
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Ludy wrote:
Well my point is that was obvious. But that's indeed a point of view.


I guess I'm not giving her much credit when it comes to her intellectual capability here. But if Antoinette did not conspire with foreign powers in order to restore the monarchy, what was her goal?

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Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:22 pm
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